Friday 18th August 2023 is a memorable day for the city of Bonapara, Rajshahi, for all the MdI communities and others. Sr. Happy Rozario, Missionary Sister of the Immaculate (MSI), Bengali, a junior sister, after the destination to Italy, now receives the missionary mandate from Fr. Dino Giacominelli (PIME) in her parish of origin, dedicated to the Madonna of Lourdes, precisely in Bonpara, Natore. And after the mandate? Here is the ticket ready to leave on 28 August 2023 for Milan/Monza, and things change in an instant!
After an intense week of animation and preparation in the villages near Bonpara in which Sr. Happy shared with everyone the story of her vocation and her joy, here was the day of her mandate, which took place with a moment of celebration and prayer with the Holy Mass at 9 in the morning, and then joining a moment of celebration and sharing in Sr. Happy’s village, organized by her family. An unforgettable day, as easily we understand from the comments of the protagonist and three Italian girls who this summer spent a month in mission in Bangladesh (through the Giovani e Missione) and who were present that day.
THE SHARING OF SR. HAPPY ROZARIO
I am Sr. Happy Rozario. Native of Bonpara, Rajshahi, Bangladesh. The Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate have served my parish in the pastoral field for many years, so much so that many are still called ‘the Bonpara sisters’, with a long and fruitful history, between work in the dispensary, in boarding with girls and in pastoral care in the villages. Since I was a child, therefore, I have always seen the MdI’s visiting families and working in the villages preaching the Gospel and I must say that their approach, their style and their work have always impressed me, even if I didn’t know about their missionary vocation. It was after choosing to enter the convent, while still young, that together with the continuation of my studies I was able to learn more and more about the characteristics of this vocation, through the training I received and the knowledge of the sisters. I was inspired by the simple and orderly life of the sisters, which helped me discover my vocation day after day.
So step by step, the time of destination and departure for the mission has arrived for me too. In particular, I left on August 28, 2023 to reach my mission land, Italy. I can say that I am truly happy that the Lord chose me and accompanied me on this journey, giving me the fullness of the missionary vocation, the destination! If I have to tell the truth, when I dreamed of the mission I was oriented towards other areas of the world, mainly Africa, and when I heard for the first time that my destination was Italy, I was surprised. However, in recent years I have learned to understand how the world is constantly changing and how the presence of missionaries has become necessary and fundamental even in countries with a Christian tradition. It is on this word and necessity that I made my own the Lord’s call to join Him in Italy and it is precisely because of this call that I consider myself lucky. In my country of origin, in fact, a long time ago the Italian missionaries were among the first to bring and bear witness to the Gospel and we are the fruits of their love and sacrifice. For this reason, my hope and prayer is that I too can be, like them, a sign of God’s love and benevolence among Italians.
The last word of gratitude and remembrance for my family, who has always left me free in my choice, supported me and who is still at my side through love and prayer. This is what sustains me in moments of insecurity or fear, together with the certainty of the sure presence of the Lord next to me in every day of my life.
THE IMPRESSIONS OF ANNA, CAMILLA AND CRISTINA, THREE GIRLS OF GIOVANI E MISSIONE (YOUTH AND MISSION)
For us GM girls it was the first time we witnessed a Missionary Mandate and we were curious to find out how the ceremony would take place. The language barrier, although limiting (the entire ritual was in Bengali), was almost a gift, because it allowed us to see everything that transpires beyond the words.
One of the things that struck us most was the emotion, excitement and agitation also felt by the other sisters in the days preceding the ceremony: many sisters tried to reach the place where the Holy Mass was held and they all contributed to the preparations. Even those who could not reach the place showed their affection by preparing a cake or a bouquet of flowers.
During lunch at Sr. Happy’s house, we were surprised to see the active participation not only of the family, but also of the villagers. More people contributed to cooking the food, distributing it to the guests and creating moments of entertainment with traditional dances and songs between one course and another. There was certainly no lack of care and attention towards guests, an element that distinguishes Bengali culture.
During the day we girls of ‘Giovani e Missione’ also felt involved: in the initial procession of the Holy Mass we were given the task of carrying the Italian flag for us to leave it near the altar and in the afternoon some parts of the program took place in English to facilitate our understanding. We hope that our presence here may have made Happy feel a little closer to Italy. It makes us happy to think that we have contributed in our small way to encourage her and make her already feel at home in her new mission!