Letter 15

Posted June 13, 2022

PROVINCE OF TETE

PARISH OF SÃO JOSÉ-TETE

21 December 2021

Reverend Father Jean Gailhac

It was with great joy that I heard the story of your vocation and your works, told by Sr. Bernadette, a sister of the Sacred Heart of Mary, when she visited in the early 2000s. She gathered a group of people from my parish and explained who Father Gailhac was and what his desire was: “At a very young age, God inspired me to become a priest on the condition that I live only to love God and to lead others to love God. I want to dedicate myself exclusively to the glory of God, to my sanctification and to the service of my neighbor. (MM.Gonsalves 2002 P. 35-39).

I wanted to go deeper, to know a little more about your life and your works.

 Father, you sent Sr. Bernadette like a morning star to illuminate the province of Tete. The strength of your charism, which no one expected, was to set in motion the miracle that is taking place here, even though the sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary do not have a community in this region of Mozambique.

 In June 2004, on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Mary, the extended Family of the Sacred Heart of Mary was founded.

Father, you cannot imagine the joy in my parish that day: it was the first movement to be born in Tete! With 130 members from the city of Tete and 250 members in Lifidzi-Angónia.

Father Gailhac, your spirit and your works are making things happen! In my province, day after day, the leaders of the Christian communities in the districts are joining the F.E.S.C.M. movement because the members have assimilated your charism and your spirit and because you have given us the Sacred Heart of Mary as a model. And you know why, Father? because it is a heart that welcomes everyone without exception.

When the sisters asked me to be responsible for the members of the F.E.S.C.M. here in Tete, I hesitated. I thought I would not be good enough, but God works wonders: I believe that you, my father, have always been present in my activities and that it is your charisma and your spirit that have guided me in the mission that has been entrusted to me to this today.

Many people have joined the F.E.S.C.M. movement. They have understood its mission and, as members of the group, they are becoming true Christians, exemplary families, and through their lives and the word of God, they have helped many people to enter the way of salvation. The churches where the movement is present have begun to fill up. The Eucharist is celebrated there several times a day. This is the fruit of your presence in this diocese of Tete.

Father, you know that since 2010 I am facing many problems and you are helping me to overcome them. I believe this because I always ask God to help me through your intercession.

While travelling in Malawi with my sick husband, I was holding his hand when he suddenly let go of it without me realising it: I saw him already falling in the middle of the road, about to be run over. I was scared when I saw a car stop in front of him. On another occasion, on the feast of St. Alphonsus Mary Liguori, the feast of the ministers of the Eucharist, I went to Mass, and on my way back I found my son-in-law about to strangle his father. I don’t know where I got the strength to defend him! Only God and Father Gailhac, who was with me, could have brought me to my husband before the worst happened. 

Seeing the suffering of my husband, God called him to the heavenly homeland. After his death, I was very ill. When I recovered, I went to the cemetery to visit his grave. The cross on top of it was shining and my husband’s smiling face appeared to me. I started to pray and when his niece arrived, the image disappeared and only the cross remained.

I know that he continues to accompany me in everything, even in the activities of the F.E.S.C.M. to which he had never objected. I left him alone a few times at home when I went out to visit the groups in the districts and localities. I trusted Christ. 

Where the cross is, there is Christ; God is watching all this, our joys, and our commitment to the works you have inspired. If it were not for this conversation, I am having with you right now, I would be in Nsaladzi visiting a New Christian community that has members of the FESCM. The movement is not yet officially established there as it is in Golowi Kassacatiza on the Zambian border and in Nchena, a spread that I see as the result of the strength of your charisma and spirituality. I can say that the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves to satisfy the hunger of the Mozambicans of Tete is happening, thanks to the dynamism of your charisma, your spirit and your prayer.

My God, I ask you to listen to my prayers. They have only one purpose: to love you and to make everyone love you.

I am confident that you will multiply the number of Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary and that, thanks to them, you will be better known, loved and praised everywhere. Amenǃ 

Father Gailhac, at this moment, the F.E.S.C.M has 2,500 members spread over the districts of Tete, Agonia, Chiuta, Maravia and Macanga. This is the result of your work. In these districts, the members of the F.E.S.C.M., guided by your charisma and your spirit, take care of the sick, the orphans, the elderly in need. They sing in the choirs of Christian communities and parishes. They are ministers of the Eucharist and they bring hope, they are catechists and community leaders.

For your charitable works, you wanted to found the Congregation of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary. Father Gailhac, I ask you for the grace of founding a community of R.S.C.M. in Tete, in order to consolidate the seed of your charism launched here at the birth of the F.E.S.C.M. which continues to be alive and strong under the protection of the Sacred Heart of Mary.

With all the confidence and affection that I have for you, 

Your daughter,

Margarida Maria da Purificação Fernandes

 A chain of prayer has been formed to ask for the beatification of Father Gailhac. With the other members I join in, asking God to grant us this grace.

*FESCM: extended family of the Sacred Heart of Mary

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