On 14 February, Sr. Leah Baituma – pronounced her final commitment and received the missionary mandate for Guinea Bissau. The words of Blessed John Mazucconi, PIME, were uttered by Sr. Leah which brought about tears in the eyes of many who witnessed the ceremony: “Blessed will be the day when I have to suffer much for such a holy cause, but more blessed would it be if I would be found worthy to shed my blood and die for it.”
The mood of the celebration began much earlier as the family members of Sr. Leah started to prepare the mission ground in her birth place. The temporary shelters were put up to welcome the Bishop and the PIME Missionaries. The people began to move from the villages to the mission ground in view of preparation which exhibited their love for their daughter-Leah.
The journey that was made by Bishop and PIME missionaries; to reach Dio-Dio the Sub-Parish dedicated to St. James was like the missionary journey of St. Paul and his companions. The journey included the means: by air, road, sea and on foot to mark the noble task of the celebration. Everyone was exuberantly welcomed in a traditional way.
The Eucharistic celebration began with a procession dance escorting Sr. Leah Baituma in her traditional attire. The touching moment of the rite of the profession was the handing over. The family of Sr. Leah in a symbolic manner stripped the signs of her belonging to the blood-relation and handed her to the MSI family. True in deed! It touched the hearts of many.
The theme that Sr. Leah chose was “You are the light of the world and salt of the earth”. To lose one’s own identity in order to be a light and salt to the people in darkness and hopeless situation. Merging herself with the secular world that was celebrating Valentine’s day, Sr. Leah expressed her love for her spouse Jesus by offering herself totally through her definite yes. She also welcomed the Missionary Cross to be an apostle in Guinea Bissau.
The people of Dio-Dio rejoiced sending their daughter as a missionary to other country. They received their faith exactly fifty years back through Foreign Missionaries. The seed of faith that was sown in this land, has now sprouted and grown into a huge tree. Sr. Leah is the fruit of the untiring work of the missionaries.
His Grace, Rolando Santos, the bishop of Alotau – Sideia acknowledged and applauded PIME Sisters for the hard work and various apostolate that are carried out in his diocese and elsewhere in the land of Papua New Guinea. The people also expressed their gratitude and complemented our mission work.
“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church,” (Apologeticus L.13) said Tertullian Further Alexander Souter translated this phrase as, “We spring up in great numbers the more we are mown down… the more we grow.” This is true of Papua New Guinea. The PIME in PNG lived such moment through the martyrdom of Blessed John Mazucconi. But today are ripping the harvest by sending the local missionaries to the ends of the earth.
KUDOS to the family of Sr. Leah Baituma and the Local Church of PNG!
Sr. Celine ArockiaSamy,