The Little Sisters of Mary Immaculate have made a triumphant return to Mozambique, four decades after their departure due to anti-Catholic sentiments.
Their arrival in Dómuè, Tete Diocese, was met with an overwhelming outpouring of joy and anticipation from the local community, a reception that deeply moved the congregation.
Sister Mirian dos Santos, a representative of the Little Sisters, shared the sentiments of the congregation, expressing their profound delight at the reception they received after a 40-year absence. The Sisters had faced hostility that led to their departure, making this return all the more poignant. Sister dos Santos stated, “Seeing how much the people were waiting for our presence, after 40 years without consecrated women religious, exceeded our expectations. It was a very simple, but very generous welcome.”
Engaging in pastoral work and catechesis, the Sisters are actively involved in nurturing the spiritual growth of over 100 community leaders. Sister Rita Nascimento, among the returning Sisters, echoed the congregation’s eagerness to spread the Gospel’s joy among those who seek spiritual nourishment. Their dedication to serving the community, despite the challenges of the past, underscores their commitment to their mission.
Sister dos Santos humbly requested prayers for the success of their mission and also acknowledged the potential need for additional support, including a vehicle to reach distant and remote communities. This recognition of practical challenges showcases their determination to extend their reach beyond the immediate vicinity and offer their services to those in need, regardless of location.
The Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), an organization that has supported the diocese in various capacities, was praised by Bishop Antunes for their pivotal role in aiding the region’s growth. He commended ACN for their contributions to seminarian education, the restoration of essential infrastructure, the construction of chapels, and more. The bishop acknowledged ACN’s recent involvement in bolstering the diocesan radio station by providing necessary equipment for improved broadcasts.
Bishop Antunes emphasized the wide-ranging impact of ACN’s support, stating, “ACN helps in many ways: in the formation of seminarians, supporting the restoration of infrastructure, building chapels, purchasing vehicles, and, very recently, in the purchase of equipment for our diocesan radio station, so that we can improve our broadcasts.” He extended heartfelt gratitude to the benefactors and all those who play a role in enabling ACN to continue its impactful mission.
The return of the Little Sisters of Mary Immaculate to Mozambique after four decades marks a poignant moment in the region’s religious history.