Day 1 – Christmas Novena

The Lord is here; go out to meet him, saying: Great his birth, eternal his kingdom, strong God, Ruler of all, Prince of Peace.

The coming of Christmas, the celebration of the Saviour’s birth, brings us the comforting hope of better days for humanity. In fact, there are ever less days without news of violence to minors and adults. These become our daily bitter bread: the living together at home, on the street, in school, at work, among nations.  It is difficult to single out one type of suffering, but, at the opening of this novena, we want to look at the pains very near to us, rooted in the culture of the strongest, of the patriarchal frame: violence against women.

 

THE STORY OF MARIA DA CRUZ

When a woman migrates, life and hope also migrate

My name is Maria da Cruz, I am Paraguayan and I want to tell you the story of a woman victim of domestic violence. It is now three years that I live in São Paulo, Brazil, with my four sons and one daughter. I got married when I was 15 years old. My first daughter died, still in my womb, because my husband did not help me in time. I lived thirty years with my husband´s physical and psychological violence, believing that I had to endure everything to be freed one day. This is how I understood the Church teaching. I faced a deep depression. I thought of suicide. But in my heart I felt that my family needed me. I found support in the Church and started to serve in social pastoral, where I dedicated myself for 15 years.  There I understood that God does not want violence. Then I was able to escape and travel to São Paulo where my oldest son already lived. In the hope of better days I came with courage, relying on God’s help.

When I arrived I was welcomed and accompanied by the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit (SSpS).   I feel that they also are my family.  I started to participate in the Church and the Pastoral Ministry for Migrants believing that, through my experience, I can contribute to welcome the many who arrive in this country. It is fundamental to know someone to rely on!

 

PRAYER:

Lord God, you know the depth of the heart and the pains of many women in our patriarchal culture. Help us to overcome all these ills to be able to sing, with Mary: “He looked at the humiliation of his servant,” we pray, compassion reaches those who fear Him from one generation to another.

Lord God, help us to overcome any individualism to enter the circle of solidarity, we pray, compassion reaches those who fear Him from one generation to another.

Lord God, look at the immeasurable human suffering many times being caused by fratricide quarrels. Teach us the lesson of the Incarnation of your Son Jesus, of real love to overcome this human disintegration and of creation, we pray, compassion reaches those who fear Him from one generation to another.