Three months ago, three sisters set off to the refugees in Greece for a joint European project. Already then it was clear that they would not remain as three. On the 4th of August the fourth sister, Sr. Preethi Silva from India, joined them at last.
Sr. Preethi had been assigned to the project from the very beginning. However, three months ago, when the Sisters Ada, Rastislava and Clara set off to Greece, she could not be with them since she did not have her visa yet. This visa has now been granted. Within no time, just two days later, she already found herself on the plane to Athens together with Sr. Anna-Maria Kofler, provincial leader of Germany. The 36-year-old Indian sister built up a school in the north east of India for the last few years, and is thus practiced as a pioneer. For years she had been dreaming of working as a missionary outside of India. Lately she actually wanted to go to Brazil. However, when Rome requested her for Greece, she did not hesitate to say Yes. Via media she had already heard a lot about the situation of the refugees, especially from Syria. While still in India she also been started acquiring some basics in two languages that will now be a help for her new mission: Greek and Arabic.
During the last weeks of waiting for her visa, Sr. Preethi has already been on European ground; in Steyl to be exact. There she did not only have the opportunity to get to know the founding places of our congregation, but also to participate in the renewal course/tertiate that is presently taking place in Steyl. This group and many sisters of the motherhouse community sent her off to Greece. They all gathered in the Holy Cross chapel of the Sacred Heart convent 15 minutes before departure. Sr. Preethi spoke a prayer of surrender and all present blessed her for her hew mission in Greece. A little less than three months ago, her three companions had been sent from the very same place. Sr. Anna-Maria Kofler once again recalled the words with which Fr. Jose Ignacio Garcia, Jesuit and director of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Europe, addressed the sisters before their departure: “Often your skills will be needed, but even more your love.”
Our sisters in Greece work closely with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). They organise programs for refugees, take care of the sick and elderly, arrange the work in the kitchen, and accompany young volunteer helpers, most of whom come from France, Spain, and Portugal. The mission in Greece is a joint project of the European provinces and regions, which now, by the very presence of Sr. Preethi, has a further support from Asia as well.
Michaela Leifgen, SSpS