We are novices among the Sisters of Charity of Saint Jeanne Antide. The noviciate is a period of formation to become Sisters and live religious life fully. Armelle, from Chad, and Luong, from Vietnam tell us their mission experience with seniors.
LUONG: From last year, we novices, have been collaborating with the “S. Egidio’s Community” at the service of the Church and of the Kingdom of God. With simplicity and according to our possibilities we take part in various activities.
ARMELLE : What do we do exactly? Once a week we visit elderly people, who live in the neighbourhood near St. John Lateran’s basilica. Some of them live alone, have no family, others have a family but they live faraway, others have children living in the city who are unable to visit often their parents due to work, health problems or their own family’s commitments.
Our visit gives them a chance to chat, share and keep hoping … we have built simple and friendly relationships with them, being attentive to the needs of each one of them. Sometimes we bring them something to eat, or else we make supper for them, we tidy up the house, iron their clothes, and help them with personal care (cutting their nails and hair)…
LUONG : With those who can we also go out for a walk. We entertain them singing, dancing, reading a book, listening to their stories and also sharing ours. Sometimes it happens that we pray together with them, or else we offer them comfort encouraging them to have faith and keep hoping.
We also had positive feed-backs from their children who appreciate our weekly presence which assures them that their parents have someone else to rely on.
ARMELLE : Back in our community we “keep” these people in our prayer, and we talk about them and what we do with them.
This is not much, yet it makes us experience the importance of caring for others and strengthens in us the wish of making our life a gift of love for all. For the elderly our visits are the occasion to spend some time in a different way, being listened to, loved, and accepted as they are.
LUONG: This experience offers to us, novices of the Sisters of Charity who are going through a formation process towards becoming Sisters, an opportunity to live our Charism in a practical way, learning to see Jesus in the poor, the sick, the elderly and the marginalized, and put into practice the words of Matthew 25:40: “Whatever you do to one of these little ones, you do it to me!”.