I was about to leave for the assemblies in Cameroon and in India and Sr. Antonella asks me: what do you think of going to Tunisia at the end of February? The question was for me like a surprise. I thought about it for a moment and I accepted. At the end of the February I left for Tunisia where I remained till 10th March.
Sr. Rekha, one of our sister was waiting for me at the airport. It was for the first time I have seen Tunisia with her where we are starting our new mission. It is a beautiful city different from other cities of Africa, that I knew already.
The archdiocese has given us a comfortable house, in one of the outskirts of Tunisia. It needs 30 minutes to reach from the city. There was an another congregation living there Before us, because of the lack of vocations, with lot of sadness they had to close the community.
From one week Sr. Rekha stays here, at Hammam – Lif. We walked together the streets of the quarters to know the places of their day to day life, so many people, full of life and of women with burka. There are fabulous opportunities to meet one another and to exchange the words to know better each other.
In Tunisia Sr. Rekha made me to know some of the religious communities, an old age home of the archdiocese, and the Caritas. We participated in the Sunday Eucharistic celebrations in one of the parishes of which the responsible is the vicar general of the archdiocese, where Fr. Anand PIME stays as a guest while he continues to do his language course “Arab” and he knows better the reality of the archdiocese. While visiting these ecclesial realities, one of the things that struck me was the hospitality and the joy that we are going to work with them.
It is an active church the major part of its members are immigrants coming from various countries, because of various reasons they cross the seas and travel so many kilometers away from their land, to reach the coast. But the beautiful thing is this “mystery” of intertwined of cultures and religious traditions. The song of Moazim that gives rhythm to the day the richness of archaeological patrimony and the precious witnesses left by the church fathers (St. Augustine and St. Cyprian) and by some martyrs (Perpetua and Felicity).
It seems like the church is that of encounter and visitation of intersection of people, especially Africans and cultures. It has a different attraction. It gave me the impression of a church of listening and fraternity that in its simplicity makes people to get closer with one another in their day to day life and it encounters them through it’s simple presence.
How can I say this? It touched me a lot the way they take care of the relations and attention towards making you feel. Sr. Françoise just before leaving Hammam – lif, was telling me that I am very happy that your sisters are coming because you will continue to cultivate the relationships with the families of the neighbourhood that we have constructed in these years. Another sister who was recently destined to one of the countries in north Africa shared her sadness to leave this city. She was sharing with me something of her experience. She has developed a true and profound relationships with some of the youth and families, through some examples she was telling me that she understood how it was important in this reality. The joy of encountering here has particular significance that is really specific.
sr. Rosanna Marchetti, General Direction community