Reflections on Three Years as an RSHM

Posted February 11, 2019

On January 23, 2019, four sisters—Fernanda, Isaura, Joanita and Margaret—renewed their vows for the next three years. We share their experiences and reflections.



“Live joyfully as an instrument in the hands of God and contribute in its smallness to the great work of God.” (Fr. Gailhac) My experience as a young Brazilian religious missioned in the USA has contributed to my call to religious life, community living, giving and serving those most in need. Gailhac says, “Be all of God. Put all trust in Him. Give him your heart and everything will go well. “Yes, I can say that everything is going well, which is different from saying that everything is easy. Internationality is a very important part of our RSCM identity and so it has been my experience – to be and to be where I am called. During this time, across borders, my ministry is at the RSHM Life Center, an educational and social space for children, adolescents, adults and families. At first I had a lot of trouble, because I was called to teach, while I needed to learn (language, culture, people, places …). I gave of myself, even without having much, while I needed to receive (knowledge, security, information and training …). Many times I felt saturated, but I always turned to God, putting my trust and limitations in Him. I have always found in my community the support and courage to start the next day again. For me it has still been a time of transition and adaptation. Time to talk little, but to learn and live a lot. Time of patience, sometimes discouragement, but mostly time of conquests, joys, overcoming obstacles, passion and openness in receiving the graces that God abundantly pours out on me and on everyone around me.


I am from Mozambique, but the experience of internationality that I had in the Portuguese province during these three years was very important for my personal, community life: learning openness to the new and sharing. I collaborated as an educational assistant in the Ministry of Social Work of the Sacred Heart of Mary, Quinta de Armada-Braga. Working with children, and living in community, opened up horizons for me. I gained more work experience, interacting with a diversity of people and the local community in mission. It was good to have this experience at this early stage because I felt challenged and in the end I also felt a capacity for adaptation; I have overcome fear or the unknown, as I begin these first steps in a great and completely different world, the culture, the climate, the religiosity, the community, the difference of ages. I asked myself from the bottom of my heart when I began to live in Braga; “My God, what am I going to do here? Why have you sent me to this great city? The answer was given to me:  I gave myself and opened myself and with much support from my Sisters, I was integrated and I was very grateful to participate in life and ministry in Portugal. God provided me with It was a time of grace. The ministry was very gratifying, to be in contact with the families, the collaborators and the children themselves, which I called “my little ones”, to take care of the little angels and they took good care of Sister Izaura. In all the activities, I took part in the Province, there were happy and unforgettable moments: in youth vocations, pilgrimages to Fatima, St. James of Compostela, I have had experience of our sources in Beziers, to continue the mission that Father Jean Gailhac and Mère St. Jean began. I returned with great desire to continue to be a very good Sister, a friend, attentive, responsible, determined, very faithful and always cheerful, zealous, flexible so that all have life and life in abundance with focus on Jesus Christ the center of our life. I feel committed to the Institute. It is worth going beyond physical, cultural as well as spiritual boundaries, doing well for life and giving a global view of the world, the Institute and the Church.


After the first profession, I was missioned to Brazil, where I worked as educator in the project Don José Mauro, with children, young people, and adolescents! Now I am in Bahia with the pastoral care of children, youth and I am taking a technical nursing course. These were challenging moments in my life, but I grew to a great degree and thank the Institute for giving me this opportunity, my home region of Mozambique that allowed me this experience, the Brazilian province that welcomed me and the General Council that gave me this opportunity!


I would like to begin by giving a brief description of the role of a nurse assistant. A nursing aide, sometimes called a nursing assistant, assists medical staff in providing care for residents of long-term care facilities, as well as for short-term hospital patients. During a typical workday, they perform a wide variety of non-medical duties and since they spend a large part of each day interacting with patients, it is important that nursing aides be caring, compassionate and patient individuals. Nursing aides need to have a big heart because most of the times they work with patients who require assistance to perform even the most basic tasks. They feed, bathe, and move patients; they reposition bedridden patients so that they do not develop ulcers. They help patients who need assistance going to the bathroom. Nursing aides also assist with ensuring cleanliness for the patients. Nursing aides also provide very basic medical care. They monitor vital signs, such as blood pressure, pulse and temperature and report any irregularities in vital signs or health concerns expressed by patients to supervising nurses or doctors. In some places, nursing aides who have been specially trained and certified are responsible for
administering medication to patients and residents. 
The work of a nurse aide calls for a deep spiritual disposition to carry it with pleasure. As regards my overall personal experience, I can say that my program has been very helpful. Prior to taking this course, I was already involved in a ministry of care for the sick; however, this course has now provided me with the tools tha t I need to care for the weak in the most efficient way. This ministry is in line with our charism as RSHM sisters, “that all may have life,” to give life; especially by sharing our lives with the marginalized and most vulnerable in society. I am very grateful to the Regional Council for giving me the opportunity to take this course. Also I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Chinhoyi community for their unwavering support during this period of my study. Thank you very much may God bless you all.  

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