The first missionary religious congregation for women in the history of the Church and the world is the Institute of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary founded in 1877 by BL. Mary of the Passion, now in the 139th year of its course.

Franciscan in its essence.
Missionary in its services
Mary - like in its approach.

» Dedicated to universal mission

» Seek strength from the Eucharist

» And offer ourselves in challenging services

Life Shared

My mission in Liberia - Sr.Josephine Elisabeth fmm

 

My mission in Liberia.

                                                  

 

 

“If the Lord does not build the house, in vain do the builders labour”…
This line of the psalm has come alive when I look back at my apostolate with the women in Ghana, Liberia. Women are exploited, discriminated and marginalized in war torn countries. 40 years of civil war has left its impact in a very beautiful country which is rich in minerals, rubber, palm, other vegetation and other resources. Still we can see the broken houses and burnt buildings everywhere.

                                                               

Now we are in the process of rebuilding the country at all levels. Especially the church concentrates on rebuilding people and improving their skills without forgetting to re-evangelize them. We fmm sisters in Ghana, Liberia province concentrate on uplifting women, the less privileged in the society. We help them to learn skills, so that they can take care of their children by providing their needs and give education. Many of them are mostly teenage single mothers. They struggle to meet the daily needs of their family. They have no opportunities to get jobs because they are illiterate or drop outs from school. They have not developed their skills.

                   
When I was transferred to Liberia, from Ghana, in 2009, I was asked to take up women’s development programme, which was started after the last war in 2007.The objective is overall formation of women. It is two years program, giving them knowledge and developing skills in dress making, baking, weaving African cloth and handicrafts. We give also classes on nutrition, hygiene, community building, child care, sex education, basic maths, adult literacy and Bible study. We also cover up sessions on health in general (HIV,AIDS), social issues like women’s right and leadership.

 

                                    After two years they given a certificate. It enables them to find employment, some of them became leaders in their own communities. I can see the difference in two years. They gained self-esteem, knowledge, and confidence to speak boldly in groups, start their own trade, even teach others and share their knowledge with other women. Many got jobs as cooks, tailors, and bakers. They are confident to take care of themselves and their families. I feel proud and satisfied when I see those clean, well dressed, good mannered and polite ladies. Some of them feel great that they are able to read and write, even teach their children. Their husbands and boy - friends are also proud of them and come to thank me with fruits and vegetables from their farm.

                       This year I plan to work in collaboration with an N.G.O “Save the Children”. They brought twenty four young women most of them from the streets to be trained in our centre. They are happy to learn many things and are proud to belong to a group. Since our number has increased to thirty five, we need more space to move around. We need extra class room, toilets and kitchen. An appeal is made to the Bishop to help us with the renovation and extension of our centre. We plan to start a canteen in order to give jobs to our graduates who are still unemployed.”The work in the vineyard of God never ends. As He says “The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few.”We need more persons to uplift the country.
                                            

 
With renewed zeal and enthusiasm, I am ready to return to my mission in Liberia. May the God of compassion and love be with us to lead and guide us. I take this opportunity to thank Sr.Valsa, provincial of Ootacamund, Sr.Anasthas, the superior of I.C.C. and Dr.Sr.Premila for their love, concern and care during my surgery and recovery. I also thank all the sisters for praying for me.
May the good Lord bless you.
 
Sr.Josephine Elizabeth fmm