Here am I, ending my 6 months with the LAMP missionaries, ready to enter in a new chapter of this sabbatical time which has been granted to me by my Community. The only word which comes to my heart is GRATITUDE, gratitude for the goodness of the Lord which has been so tangible each day since September the 1st, 2019.
I had three desires in coming to LAMP: a desire to go to the poor and to learn from them what it means to be compassionate in a concrete and realistic way; to discover a new perspective of the Church and to be able to cooperate with and receive from lay people; and, lastly, a place which would allow me to be faithful to my prayer life as a religious Sister of St. John, so in love with Jesus’s divine Heart and the Eucharist.
Today, I can say that my desires have been fulfilled.
It has been a beautiful journey, a beautiful school of communion, compassion and courage; a beautiful school of listening to the beating Heart of the Lord and praying to be united to Him in His love for the poor and for each missionary.
Life at the Annunciation House has been very joyful, peaceful, prayerful. How can I not be amazed by the beautiful heart of these young women, journeying together with such love and care for each other and for those they serve. Being with them gives me hope and assurance of the work of the Holy Spirit among the new generation. I could also witness how the life in LAMP shapes contemplative hearts, able to be moved by the distressed of our brothers and sisters and to respond to them with a genuine presence and a genuine love.
The ministries make us grow in unity and communion. We encourage each other, we pray with each other, we are attentive to each other. It is not always easy to go and visit the homeless in the street; it is not always easy to find the right attitude or word but we help each other. We can witness how the Holy Spirit is often present and at work. There is no more beautiful moment than to be able to pray two-by-two with a sincere heart with one of our poor brothers or sisters.
The visitations at Times Square in Manhattan and the LAMP for Life ministry made me grow in courage but also in surrender to the Lord. The zeal and support of my young fellow missionaries taught me courage and humility. It is not easy to feel sometimes ignored or rejected in trying to save babies from abortion. It could be hurtful, but community support, prayer and love for these little beings, their mothers and Christ gave me strength to go beyond myself.
I have so many faces in my mind, so many people who moved me and whom I keep in my heart. I learned so much through them. What is the most important is not trying to fix them, nor having the answer to everything. The most important thing is to love them at the very moment we encounter them: a gaze, a smile, a touch, a word…sometimes just a prayer in the heart. How it is hurtful to hear one of our poor brothers telling us: “People are treating me like a dog!” No dirtiness, no mental illness, no addiction can remove the sacred value of a human person.
Thank you LAMP for teaching me how to bring the good news of Jesus’s love and mercy among the poor, and to affirm the sacredness of all human life in places where we are sent.
I know that I received much more of what I am sharing here and that everything will unfold in time. I don’t want to say goodbye because I know that we will be remaining united through Jesus’s beating Heart, “believing in his love, his exceeding love” (St. Elizabeth of the Trinity) for each one of his children.
-Sr. Ange Marie (Sr. Angel Mary), csj