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.
Ellen O'Leary, Northern European Province
For many years, the focus of my ministry has been working with victims of human trafficking and prostitution. I volunteered for 10 years with Ruhama, an Irish NGO and registered charity that offers support to women affected by prostitution, sex trafficking and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation.Ruhama’s services are focused on the needs of the individual, and my work was in the areas of housing and enabling women to source their correct entitlements so that they are in a position to live independently when they secure their own personal accommodation. More recently I have been active with the St. Vincent de Paul Society in providing support to families in need, for example, education and training, and child care to enable the single mother to take advantages of training and opportunities to move out of poverty. I have also become a volunteer with “Childline,” a telephone service supporting children who are alone or in crisis. The approach is mainly listening, and leading the child to help by asking questions such as “what do you think you should do.” The service is confidential, unless it is a situation involving abuse, which we are obliged to report. I feel privileged to have been able to serve in these ministries which not only address some of the critical needs of our time, but are very much in the tradition of the works of our Founder who did similar work with women and children 170 years ago.
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.
Ana Luísa Pinto, Portuguese Province, Generalate
When I first met the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary (RSHM) – I was a young university student – what impressed me most was their joy and simplicity. In the RSHM I found the same passion and desire that I had to follow Jesus Christ, in a life poured out in love and service to all, particularly the poor. The dream of a christian life shared in community has become a reality! The confidence in God’s fidelity and in the support of the Sisters gave me the courage I needed to make my first commitment in 2004 and become a member of the Institute. Since then, for me, being an RSHM means continually taking on the challenge of the Gospel and the spirit of Faith and Zeal that marked our founders Jean Gailhac and M. St Jean and to continue today our mission: “to know and love God, to make God known and loved, so that all may have Life”. When I look back on my journey as an RSHM, I see myself as a “pilgrim”, whom God continually calls to walk in faith, sustains in love and challenges to be open and to grow with the surprises, joys and difficulties, encounters… with all the blessings on the journey. Currently serving in leadership, I feel encouraged by the confidence in God’s love for the Institute and our deep desire to be women of ‘prophetic hope’ who walk together and, in collaboration with others, proclaim that all have a place in our ‘common home’.