M. Jana Zawieja
For more than two years, there has been an on-going dialogue with the Diocese of Santa Clara in Cuba, inviting Nazareth Sisters to missionary work, specifically in the pastoral care of families. From February 12 to 21, 2018, M. Jana Zawieja, General Superior, and Sr. Daniela Tupaj, Councilor and General Treasurer, traveled to Cuba. The Sisters took part in a series of conversations and meetings with other missionaries, and became acquainted with the difficult challenges of missionary work in the diocese.
Bishop Arturo Amador is inviting us to St. Anne’s Parish. Here, he sees us helping in catechesis, in preparation of children and adults for the sacraments, in the animation of the liturgical life of the parish. He desires that Sisters visit the elderly and sick people in their homes. But above all, our task will be to propose and undertake all possible pastoral initiatives for the moral and religious renewal of the family, which is so damaged in every respect. On the diocesan level, the Bishop counts on our creative role in the pastoral care of families. Many initiatives are already taking place, but it is clear that our charism may support very well the initiatives already undertaken and bring something new. On the diocesan level, this will mean cooperation with others who undertake pastoral care of families, possibly with the Missionaries of the Holy Family who have been present in the diocese for two years.
However, before the time comes for pastoral involvement, it is the witness of the Sisters who will take up the mission in Cuba that will be most important. The witness of being in love with Jesus, of a love for prayer, and a happy and joyful community life. It is from this that action can then be born. The more experienced missionaries already present in Cuba have repeatedly told us that if anyone would want to reverse this order, and act with the hope of achieving quick success, he or she will not last. This mission teaches humbleness, patience and perseverance, taking small steps with complete trust in Divine Providence. It teaches poverty, maybe like nowhere else in the Nazareth realities known to us so far... More preparations await us, and maybe the greatest is the spiritual preparation! Meanwhile, the diocese is going to prepare a residence for us (in this difficult economic situation, this will take some time).
And one more thing…. If anyone thinks that he or she knows Cuba based on the colorful ads from the travel agencies, we can assure you that there is another face, one that is much more gray ... But this is exactly where the joy of the Gospel needs to be brought! And it will certainly be a mission on the periphery.... The diocese of Santa Clara is waiting for us with great hope!
Jesus says: My heart is moved with pity for them... Give them something to eat yourselves... Lord, we have so little... But we believe that if we lay what we have in Your hands, it will be enough! And there will even be some in excess....