Vocation and mercy in quarantine times

posted in: Ministry, Vocation 0
Sisters of the Holy Cross in Brazil, including Sisters Maria de Lourdes de Deus Pimentel, left, and Elizangela Matos dos Santos, serve up 250 hot boxed lunches a week for homeless individuals in São Paulo.

May 1, 2020—This week, Sister Maria de Lourdes de Deus Pimentel and other sisters and candidates from the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross produced yet another batch of 250 boxed lunches that were delivered to Franciscan Solidarity Service (SEFRAS) for distribution to the homeless population in São Paulo, Brazil. 

On the front lines defending those most in need—in her work with the Pastoral for Marginalized Women and in responding to the grave crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic—Sister Maria de Lourdes recalls the motto of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil’s Fraternity Campaign for 2020: “He saw, felt compassion and took care of him,” taken from Luke 10:33-34. 

Walking the path

For her, the motto brings us to the importance of this moment, which is to walk the path of Jesus in love, welcome and help others, and not abandon the religious mission. “This is the path that many leaders who know how to love and care for others are following. Even with the challenge of COVID-19, these people have not abandoned their mission. And we, Sisters of the Holy Cross, are also following this path by living out the Gospel of St. John 6:1-15, the multiplication of the bread and fish. As Jesus sympathized with the crowd, we understand that our vocation is also to be merciful to those who suffer,” says Sister Lourdes.

Sharing love and compassion

She notes that the homeless population is not only suffering because of COVID-19, but that it suffers daily from a lack of sensitivity to issues relating to human dignity. Sister Lourdes also recognizes and shares their gratitude when they receive food and other assistance from social organizations. “It is beautiful to feel their joy when they see cars arriving in Largo São Francisco with food. They understand that they are bringing love and compassion to them,” adds Sister Lourdes.

The number of people waiting for a boxed meal is large, but Sister Lourdes also sees the solidarity of several groups working together in the effort, and is appreciative for the opportunity to be a part of it. “I thank God that I am living my vocation,” she says, “and that I can count on the Congregation.”

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