• February 13, 2008

The mission in the Bronx (testimony of Sr Albane)

Sr. Regine, Sr. Albane and Sr Blandine, NY, 2004

Sister Albane was one of the first Missionaries in NY:

"A place called Woodycrest comes to my mind. This is a hos­pice for AIDS patients that we visit each Wednesday and cel­e­brate mass with on Saturday morn­ings. Our friends are often there for sev­eral months in order to be closely mon­i­tored in their treat­ment, to undergo detox­i­fi­ca­tion, etc. For others, it is an alter­na­tive to prison. There are about a hun­dred of them living here, each of them has AIDS at a more or less advanced stage of the dis­ease. Some cannot walk any­more, others can no longer express them­selves cor­rectly, others are like zom­bies under the influ­ence of drugs and medicines.

At the Saturday morning mass, they arrive in wheelchairs pushed by another patient or they trail in with the help of a cane... and this TV room serving as a chapel for the mass is trans­formed quickly into a “court of mir­a­cles”. And actu­ally, we wit­ness true mir­a­cles there! These indi­vid­uals, some more dam­aged than the others, prove to be capable of splendid ges­tures.
I have seen Diego, limping in, singing “Eso es el día que hizo el Señor” (This is the day the Lord has made).
I have seen Stewart trying somehow to kneel during the con­se­cra­tion despite our sug­ges­tion to sit or stand, and remaining in this posi­tion, which is quite uncom­fort­able and painful for him.
I have seen Tracia offering inten­tions for her friend who will be oper­ated on, for all her com­pan­ions at Woodycrest, for the sol­diers in Iraq, for us, the Missionaries who take time to come to visit without ever thinking of offering a prayer for her­self.
I have seen Miriam, who is mildly autistic, taking my hand to pray “Our Father”.
I have seen Santiago at the end of mass inviting Manuel, who is in much worse con­di­tions than he is, to spend some time together. Then turning to me, he pro­claims:"He’s my best friend!" before shuf­fling out to go to lunch.
They all pray, they listen, they take part, they con­sent by nod­ding or com­menting during the homily, and at the end of the mass, we sing. And I hear them sing “We are the Light of the World”, “We are the Light of the World”. And in fact, they are the Light of the World because these men and women bring me back to Christ; these former dealers, drug addicts, pros­ti­tutes, and gang mem­bers somehow remind me of God’s love."

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