Hello, May name is Irene, I am 50 years old I invite you to hear a "brutal" music: Hasta luego, Maître Gimes
The true is that I also grew up in a neighborhood more or less so difficult, but we were /are good neighbors and good friends. In my area there are many Catholics, but few goes to the Mass; In my family, we are all baptized, but only I go to the Church. I grew up in the Faith with The Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, with the Youth Without Borders group; with the teams of Youth of Our Lady; with the Neocatechumenal Way, I participated in several Missionaries Weeks and in some World Youth Encounters (4). I fell in love with Jesus and wanted to Bring the Gospel of Joy to the whole world.
In Universitity, at the course of Religious Sciences, I met the DOMINICAN SANTA CATARINA DE SENA, daughters of Teresa de Saldanha (TS) who, as I usually say, "the Charism is not having Charisma ", is: DO WELL ALWAYS. (TS) And as "Le monde ne me sufffit pas"- the way found to accept the Lord's invitation and say "Yes, YES to God, according to His Will."
Uhau, it was 25 years ago that I entered the Convent, but life goes round and roundand 9 years then wanted to know the world and in the year in which I was to make the Perpetual Vows I left the Congregation.
Oh, I remembered another song: "Vivir mi vida", Marc Anthony because I wanted to live all at the same time. So, I did: I dated, but I did not think about getting married; I've lived with different people (from myself): Transvestites, gays, lesbians, prostitutes ... but I did not identify with anything or anyone; I danced a lot - dancing is my favorite sport, I danced many times until 7 am; I have always worked, sometimes 10 and 12 a day; I have always been with the Family, supporting which was necessary; I went back to study: Auxiliary of Geriatrics and I started the Masters in Care Palliative; I re-started the Neocatechumenal Way. I had a slave life. I did not feel unhappy, but "there" was not my place, it lacked something special - the SENSE - "my beach", as say the portuguese.
I prayed, I cried out to God, I was angry with Him, I made peace, I begged ... I SHOUTED. I wrote a Letter to God; And, whenever I write to Him, something in my life transforms. By now, do you seen the movie or heard the music: Letters to God - worth it- is not wasted time.
One day, St. Martin of Porres (my friend), after a Retreat, whose basic text was to Zacchaeus (Luke 19.1 to 10) and that phrase -. "Today I want to stay at your house" and another: "Today salvation has come to this house" - leads me to ask: - "Where I've been Happy?" - In the Convent. So the solution is to go back to being a Sister and everything started to make sense.
There were two years of talk and meetings: "Who is God to you?" "What place does God occupy in your life? "" Who is Jesus to you? "" Are you willing to drop everything? "How?" "Where? "
Few Peace and Serenity have come to my heart, as well as my Life.
During the period of discernment and talking with 2 nuns, I realized that I only spoke of the DOMINICAN SISTERS OF SANTA CATARINA DE SENA - as the only "thing" that made me Live IN / WITH / FOR Jesus- "The only object of my love." (TS) And I returned Home - Sisters, and with one Infinite Mercy I was received.
It is time to make another pause to listen: "I believe I can flay", R. Kelly
Have not I told you yet? I was born on the Feast Day of Santa Catarina de Sena in a place called Sant Dominic (Portugal). - "What would my life be like if I were not a Dominican? Good, but it was not the same "thing".
In the year in which the Congregation celebrated 150 years (2015); At age 48, I did again the First Wows.
And, behold, 30 years after the dream of leaving for the Ad Gentes Missions was born, I received the invitation to go for Albania (2 days after the Vows). - YES, YES, YES- and 3 months later I arrived at Nënë Teresa Airport.
Albania is a small country in central Europe, beautiful, all surrounded by mountains and with beautiful beaches; It is typically Islamic, although many are "not practitioners, "while others are more radical and it is normal to see veiled women and children or with a burqa; Christians are 5% of believers.
The Albanian people are of an incredible Faith, hungry and thirsting for God; And in times past was forbidden to live their Faith, saw their Temples destroyed or transformed into chicken coops; Islam, Bektaxis and Christians live in peace, not just in tolerance, but in neighborhoods. All people live / live like good neighbors, like brothers.
The Temples - for example, Sent Eufémia and Sent António of Padua are situated in the middle of the mountains, in fantastic places in beauty, silence, light, water ... are small places of Heaven on earth.
What is my mission? What is our Mission?
* Our Mission here is to live in community, to pray, to study, to celebrate the Eucharist, to use Charity - Doing Good Always - in COMMUNITY.
* Our Mission here is mainly related to children: we support a Children's at Day Center Catholic Church in Maminas, a town 20 km from Tirana, where only 2 children are Catholic; We drove from a kindergarten in Breglumas, a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Capital, where Islamic and Catholic children grow up and learn to live together and in communion;
* Our Mission here is: To collaborate with the Salesian Fathers in the Evangelization of the Neighborhood and in the Church, almost everything is our responsibility;
* Our Mission here is on the ground, together with the poorest and sickest, visiting the Families, listening to people and then is "always helping and where possible" (TS);
* Our Mission here takes place through the prayer the Rosary in the house of the families or with the presence of the Priest, we celebrate the Eucharist in the end of neighborhood, as in the Apostles.
* Our Mission here is in the fight against trafficking in persons in collaboration with the NGO - URAT.
* Our Mission here - almost 20 years ago - is to Be Sign of God's Tenderness.
- Is easy? - The Albanian language is difficult, the culture is "old", the food is dairy-based (and I'm allergic); The Sisters, we are all very different ... so it is sometimes difficult, but how Pope Francisco said in 2015, addressing the youth: "Do not let Dream "of being MISSIONARIES.
And here I met fantastic people; I traveled with the youth of the parish to Medugorje (Bosnia), I had the privilege of accompanying the canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta -Albanian - our Nënë Tereza; Of Living the canonization of 38 Albanian Martyrs. What lives! What testimonies! How Much Love - greater than anything you can call great! I feel "almost nothing" (useless) in front of truly GREAT testeimonies.
A curiosity: do you know the best place to pray in Tirana? The Orthodox Cathedral: simple, beautiful, silent, good welcome - worth going and staying for a bit.
Jesus is quoted as saying: "My father's house has many mansions" and so it is indeed; And with the heart always open to the surprises of God; I am almost, almost embracing a new Mission in Portugal - "I offered Jesus, then He will do with me what He wills." (TS)
A secret: I like to pray the Rosary in several languages and before falling asleep when I'm tired or worried about something, I hear Salve Rociera.
Being a Missionary is an art of living with the Risen Christ- where and how He wants it!
With all that I have lived, I can only say 2 "business": Only life with Christ Jesus has SENSE,
"To Him do I owe my freedom" (Ex.15) and "I AM HAPPY 1000 X (times) HAPPY I am and for all things I give thanks to God". (TS)
A big hug in Christ Jesus. Peace
Sister Irene OP