Rosineia Aparecida dos Reis, Brazilian Province
I am Sister Rosineia; I am Brazilian; I am a Sister of the Sacred Heart of Mary, and I renewed my vows of poverty, chastity and obedience on January 22, 2017—three years of consecrated religious life lived in joy. It is with such joy and enthusiasm that I will continue to give myself fully and respond to the call of God in my life. Today, what gives me energy and supports me is my clear decision for the kingdom of God and the service to those who are most in need, where life cries out. What is important is to understand that we are called to be witnesses and disciples of Jesus. He continually offers us the gift of his grace and forgiveness for his mercy. It is a source of joy to share with you a little of my ministry in Teresina-Piaui. When I arrived at the territorial area “Diaconia Our Lady of Fatima and Blessed Francis and Jacinta”, I learned that catechesis programs lacked catechists and organization. I began to work on these challenges. We created a coordination team involving the catechists themselves. We encountered many challenges, but today I see how much this seed is growing. I am also active ministering locally, to children and to another local group. I also coordinate the Teresina Regional branch of the Conference of Religious in Brazil, Teresina Regional. Every day I feel happy and fulfilled in walking, as a religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, together with the people of God. Faced with the immense love of God, I want to live my religious consecration intensely, in the manner of Mary, model of disciple and witness.
Rosemary Lenehan, Northern European Province
I am a part time chaplain at Saint Francis Hospice in Havering-Atte-Bower, near Romford, England, ministering there two days a week. The hospice cares for people with life limiting illnesses. Most of my work is with patients in the Inpatient Unit and in the Day Hospice. Sometimes I am asked to visit patients at home. Some patients, whom I get to know quite well, ask me to take their funeral service. When I spend time with patients in the Day Hospice and the Inpatient Unit, I begin to get to know them by encouraging them to chat about themselves and their families. After a while, patients will talk about what troubles them and about their spiritual journey which may be a difficult one. I try to help them find peace. I bring Catholic patients Holy Communion if they wish, and I can call on the local priest to give the Sacrament of the Sick. Four times a year we hold Remembrance and Thanksgiving Services where we invite bereaved families to attend and, at Christmas, we hold several Light up a Life services for them. I feel it is a privilege to be able to accompany people in their last days, months of life. They will share their anxieties with me because they don’t want to worry their families. It is very hard when we have young patients, mothers with small children, and many of them will stay in my mind when I go home. My ministry is very emotionally draining at times, but it is also very rewarding and I enjoy it.
Florence Muuka, Zambezi Region
I met the RSHM when I attended St. Joseph’s School in Chivuna, Zambia. When I was considering entering religious life, I first thought of a local congregation in Zambia. After some conversations and experiences visiting congregations, I realized that it was the mission of the RSHM, “to know and love God, to make God known and loved, that all may have life” that captured my heart and to which I knew I was called. I made my first profession of vows in 1996, which was also the year the Zambezi Region was formed. (Previously, Zambia and Zimbabwe had been regions of two other provinces.)
Professionally, I studied nursing and ministered as a nurse until I was appointed superior of the Zambezi Region in 2014. I do miss nursing but have been fortunate to be able to mentor one of our younger sisters who is a nurse.
As regional superior, my greatest joy is gaining a deeper understanding of the RSHM mission and and having the opportunities to share it. I am also privileged to be able to know our sisters and their reality more fully. I find the RSHM rich in our diversity and internationality, and my identity as an African and as an RSHM is, within myself, an experience of that richness. When I visit other congregations or attend conferences of major superiors in Africa, I appreciate our uniqueness all the more and am grateful to God for bringing me to the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary.
Luisa Almendra, Portuguese Province
When I became an RSHM, I carried only the enthusiasm for life and the love of Jesus Christ. This nurtured me all these years in which I discovered myself as gift, fragility, daring and risk. The faith-journey I have shared with other companions in mission have been decisive. Today I am RSHM. The Word of God is a reference in my life. There I find strength for moments of tiredness, and meaning for small joys or challenges of each day. I am often afraid of change, journeys or crowds, but the words of Simon Peter assure me “On your Word I will cast the nets” (Lk 5: 5). I have no other ambition than “to know and love God, to make God known and loved”, through the study and teaching of the Word of God, and the love for my sisters and all those I encounter. My consecration to God integrates who I am, a woman, a sister, and a teacher of Sacred Scripture: three dimensions that form an unity. As stated in our profession of vows, “I rely on God’s fidelity on the support of my sisters to be faithful to my commitment.”