Sr. Elvira and di Sr. Ernesta visit Kabul

   

From 15 to 20 September 2012 we had as guests, or better, as sisters sent by their respective Congregations, Sr. Elvira Bonacorsi, Prioress General of the Dominican Sisters of St Catherine of Siena, and Sr. Ernesta Mauri, Councillor General of the Congregation of Sisters of St Joseph Benedict Cottolengo. For us in the PBK international community in Kabul, these were days of fraternity and deep sharing of life and faith; and they revitalised us. We were even more conscious of inter-Congregational communion when we were told that the visit of the two sisters had been prepared with the help of Sr. Anna Piccinin, Superior General of the Franciscan Sisters of Christ the King.

The arid, dusty landscape, the almost complete absence of trees, the lines of soldiers along the landing strip, in the airport itself and along the road leading to our house drew the immediate attention of our sisters, and made them a little afraid, but once arrived at the PBK Centre and our house, they were immediately seen to be “at home”.

With joy and emotion, the sisters were soon mingling with the mentally disabled children whom we welcome at the PBK Centre, greeting them when they arrived in the morning and responding to their inarticulate questions with a smile and a caress. They visited the children in their classrooms and enjoyed a programme of songs and poems that had been prepared for them.

Our two visiting sisters wanted to accompany us in the minibus along the dusty and chaotic roads of Kabul, to collect the children who live further away. We took them to visit the other two religious communities living in Kabul; the Missionaries of Charity, better known as the Daughters of Mother Teresa, and the Little Sisters of Jesus, of Charles de Foucauld, so making acquaintance with religious life in this difficult country. They visited the International Red Cross Orthopaedic Centre, directed by Alberto Cairo, and here our sisters saw a different kind of humanity from that of the streets. Here they saw fraternity and welcoming smiles.

Travelling along the heavily-protected road which borders the Embassies and the military Headquarters of NATO and ISAF, they came to the only Catholic Church in Afghanistan, near the Italian embassy, and were united in enthusiastic faith with this Christian community, smallest of all seeds, yet living and vibrant. Each Sunday, not without difficulties, it meets to give praise to the Lord and participate in the Eucharist, from which all draw strength and a sense of the meaning of their own presence and service in Afghanistan. The assembly is composed of representatives from the Embassies, members of various non-governmental organisations, soldiers, visitors and religious, among whom are a community of Lutheran Brothers. We sing in unison and proclaim the Word in three different languages.

After Mass we cannot, for security reasons, stay long for greetings and conversation, but our sisters could not but express their admiration and thanks to Fr. Moretti, the Apostolic Delegate in Afghanistan, to the religious and to the police serving at the Embassy. It was as if they had already lost a part of their hearts to this place!

We were not able to take them to see something of the cultural side of the city, because during the days they were here there were two suicide attacks, and we were given orders not to leave the house. So instead we took the opportunity to listen to each other in fraternity, and share the passion that that had brought us here, and which animates our Congregations in this adventure of inter-congregational community and service of mentally-disabled children.

Thank you, Sr. Elvira; thank you, Sr. Ernesta.

The sisters of the inter-congregational community of Kabul

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