Third part of the testimony of Sister Olga. Remembering the process of liberation of the multitude of children and young people that was possible thanks to courage of one young woman… called Marcela.
I was done doing a service for religious province where I belong. The truth is I was feeling tired. Tired and, why not say it too, a little hopeless. I was asking God for some time of tranquility, the “sabathical year”. After the rhythm and intensity of past years, to accompany a group of novices was something I could put in this category, I thought. To accompany, to reflect, to prepare talks, to read… Today I understand that with only this it would be enough, but… our God always surprising went “some steps” further.
If he really listened to my prayer – and I think he did – I should change my idea of “sabathical year”. I lived more or less tranquil until March 4. Since then, everything changed. I assure you that I am not fond of rollercoaster, nor Dragon Kahn, nor nothing similar. I get dizzy and I want to shout. The highest I ever got during feast day in my village, when I was young, was a small swing and that’s all like forever. However God gave me an experience of much dizziness. He knows very well the dream of my heart of living near to those who really need me, in missions on frontiers. Life and family circumstances guided me in other roads.
But, as one of my sisters uses to say, “God gave it all to me in a tray”. He served it to me in gift with paper and ribbon, a special gift for my 60th birthday. He gave me a gift of my sister Marcela, who was arriving fragile and defenseless (at least that was my impression), escaping from those who put price on her life. Her commitment fo saving children victims of human trafficking, her decision to declare in spite of the cost, begun months ago and she was suffering consequences now.
Given the opportunity to accompany her, I had no doubts, to be honest. There were persons who tried to discourage me, for my surprise. I ask for accompaniment and they advised me: “Don’t put yourself in this mess”, “Don’t bother them”, “The corruption will always win”. I was only looking at Jesus, looking at Palau, and feeling with such power that if I wouldn’t answer, there was no place for me here, in this way of following Jesus in religious life… Who would do it, if not us? What sense there is if in the moment when I can accompany the suffering Christ, wounded and painful Church, I would turn my back? And I had only one answer: “Or I follow, or I leave” and what will be the meaning of my life if I leave? I heard though things from those who are supposed to accompany others who want to follow Jesus in religious life. It was difficult to put it all in its place, but there was no doubt in my heart. Today I give thanks to God for all of it. I didn’t want and I couldn’t look in other direction. It’s impossible to follow Jesus with hand break on. It’s impossible to follow the Crucified without being ready to risk one’s own life.
There were already children in my heart. We continue, and they continue being rescued, or we stop? How can we stop knowing that they exist, that they are here, that they cry waiting for our help? And, thanks be to God, we continued. We were conscious of assuming risk. At first they were 33, and it seemed like whole world. It was already worth of it. But it was just a beginning. The way was sowed with uncountable tears, you can be sure of it. Tears of pain while reading testimonies of the children who were being saved and of brutality with which they were treated; tears for those who were encountered dead with noone who would cry for their absence; tears of joy for those who started to discover something beautiful in their lives, reading messages of their godmothers, feeling that they are special for someone…
Since the beginning I experience the immense GRATITUDE. To God, the God who continues wanting to save us, to save the little ones, the poor, the defenseless children. God who never stops finding new ways, no matter how hard we try to complicate it. I assure you that he really made en effort… God who always wants to set his people free, to heal the wounded, the most vulnerable… But also God who needs our collaboration and to whom many times we put it quiet difficult with the wrong use of our freedom. Incredibly, he continues trusting.
Gratitude to God who trusted in me so much that he gave me this PRIVILEDGE to participate in his work of salvation and liberation in such a concrete way. The priviledge of being able to accompany Marcela, to cry and laugh with her, to have nights without sleep and days of suffering. Of sharing the joy because of these children saved, and the pain because of their suffering and so many lost lives. Of passing from being scared in moments of high risk to being serene knowing that in the depth all we have to do is just to trust God and put life in his hands. From the joy of creation of Homes of Mary and Joseph for children, to the pain of having to renounce accompanying them and allow that, for their own safety, they would pass in the hands of foundations.
Gratitude to Marcela, her testimony of a young woman open to the will of God, committed with her whole being until the end, even when it means to experience being locked, broken schedules, lost fraternal encounters, importuned commentaries… All of it wasn’t able to break her wholeness, her sacrifice for the cause of the children, her availability in community, her participation in parish and other tasks whenever she was able to do so. Her long hours dedicated to accompany through phone the little ones, in many cases accompanying in their agony. Her testimony of unconditional love and hope that even those who have decided in their acts that it would end bad, could one day recognize their mistake.
How curious are the ways of Lord! One more time he has chosen a young woman to carry this tremendous mission! Even among us there are some who just cannot understand that” a junior! Not even a sister of perpetual vows. At least a provincial, or animator of community, or one of us who live already so many years in religious life… No, a young woman, open to the actions and surprises of the Holy Spirit and ready to be guided by him. We cannot understand the Gospel if we only read what is written there. We invent so many things! We get confused with so much structure and worldly schemes… And God chooses his ways and his instruments.
Gratitude to Sister Ma. Jose: her courage, he commitment with the most vulnerable, er capacity to assume responsibility of risk which fighting against the power of evil and bet on life implies. Gratitude for her and the sisters who from their offices and responsibilities in this moment allowed and favored that the Congregation, following the example of our founder, might have taken this option for fighting against the evil. Gratitude and prayerful commitment of continuing supporting them so that they can maintain strength in this fight, with their gaze fixed in what really is or should be the object of our mission and of our efforts.
Gratitude, at the end, to all of you who accompanied us in this way of the cross, knowing that there is life from this cross. Thank you, to each one of the sisters who in front of our petition of prayers in all the complicated moments answered always ready. Thank you, to all who have prayed for and accompanied children wit your message full of tenderness. Thank you, our brother “guard in the night”, present always from that holy place where we can always meet each other in spite of the distance. Thank you also to all who have helped from your professions, always committed and free of charges.
Thanks to you, all the children, the principal actors of this story, who with your testimonies have questioned my sacrifice, my generosity, my sharing, my capacity of loving… I focus in you, may she be called “Mary”, my gratitude to each one of you. How is it possible that so much love would spread in so short period of time! Your mommy gave you to me as my granddaughter. I dreamt, we dreamt knowing each other, but… it will be only in heaven.
You are an army up there that cares for us every day.
Olga Olano cmt