In this last colloquy of the column “Tell me about Islam”, we would like to share with you the various experiences in which we Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate seek to make concrete the dialogue between religions, particularly in those contexts where our lives are intertwined with our Muslim brothers and sisters.

Indeed, with Pope Francis we are convinced that: “in a true spirit of dialogue, we grow in our ability to grasp the significance of what others say and do, even if we cannot accept it as our own conviction. In this way, it becomes possible to be frank and open about our beliefs, while continuing to discuss, to seek points of contact, and above all, to work and struggle together”. (Francis, Encyclical Letter Fratelli tutti, 203).

We are present in 10 countries, among others, those in which we have the closest contact with the experience of Muslim believers are India, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, some regions of North Africa, Cameroon and Guinea-Bissau.

We asked directly the sisters working in these countries to share their experience with us; their stories help us understand the meaning of walking together, in the daily routine of a simple dialogue of life made of exchanges, collaboration and prayer.

From India: “Our involvement in interreligious dialogue in India is quite informal. We live daily among people of different faiths and accompany them in our institutions, especially in schools, where some pupils and some of the staff are not Christians. There is collaboration and cooperation among us, and we try to live in harmony; in various developmental activities we organise meetings, workshops or seminars together with other religious groups with a view to mutual understanding and enrichment and interreligious dialogue.

In school assemblies, for example, we try to create times and spaces for pupils and teachers to share their religious experiences. At these times, we read together the Holy Scriptures of other religions and celebrate their most important holidays, encouraging children to respect and value other traditions, their peoples and cultures, educating them in the values of peace, love and brotherhood that are enshrined also in our Indian Constitution.

Even in pastoral activities, we meet people of all religions, and it is a time for us to get to know each other. They respect us, welcome us and even ask us to pray in their homes, despite the fact that in India there are still, unfortunately, incidents of intolerance, discrimination and violent persecution against both Christians and Muslims. Our relationships want to grow more and more into a dialogue of life”.

 (sr. Margaret Mary, Hyderabad)


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