Quoting these words of St. Paul, I am extremely glad to say “YES” to the Almighty for His abundant Blessings upon me. I express my gratitude to my superiors for choosing me as a missionary to Istambul, Turkey, where to work with people of many religions. With my whole heart with great joy, I said “YES” to the Lord by putting my confidence in the ever-flowing grace of my Divine Master for an effective mission for His glory.
It is always not easy to leave one’s people and country, culture and traditions, and be planted in a very unfamiliar situation. I trust and I open my heart to the invitation “to leave and go” to the unknown place like our Father Abraham. Reaching in Italy my first venture is to learn Italian to communicate with my sisters so I started to frequent the language school.
It came as a great surprise for me when sr. Paola told me about the celebration of the missionary mandate of the diocese of Rome and I was chosen to participate in. Great emotions rolled in my heart when I sat along with the other missionaries chosen for the mandate; they are meant to go to different parts of the world, like to Amazonia, Indonesia, Papa Nuova Guinea etc. I felt as if the mandate is not limited within my Congregation but we are sent by the Holy Mother Church. I felt so privileged. I was the only one going to Turkey.
On 15 October in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the diocese of Rome celebrated a Mission festival with the theme, “You will be my witnesses” (At.1:8). The celebration started at 15.00 with a beautiful concert giving meaningful songs and in between there were very effective and inspiring testimonies of the missionaries from different parts of the world. We were about 28 religious ready to receive the mandate and leave for different places to live the “Mission ad gentes”. Some representatives of us also expressed their great joy in receiving the mandate and being sent in the manner of Jesus and the disciples.
It was indeed an atmosphere of great joy. The vigil prayer was well animated with beautiful singing and readings. Bishop Benoni Ambarus, diocesan delegate for Charity and for Migrants presided over the celebrations. In his homily he reminded us of our privileged choice to be missionaries for the Lord in the lands far away and to people unknown, but with the assurance of His words: “I will be with you till the end of times”. The bishop blessed each one and gave a crucifix and bible as symbol of our mandate: “light for our feet” and food for our nourishment. I experienced a great feeling of joy, assurance and courage to go wherever I am sent. I also felt the protecting hands of our Blessed Mother ready to accompany me on my journey forward.
I thank all, especially Sr. Paola Dotto our superior general who gave me such an opportunity to participate in this moving celebration and also her presence and that of many of our sisters who came to celebrate the mission festival and my missionary mandate.
Sr. Bindhu Joseph Kolencherry