I mentioned the very emotional trip I experienced to visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Charity in one of my previous posts. One of the many surprises I had while at the Basilica, was experiencing first hand the unassuming, but important work, done by Catholic nuns throughout the island. In Santiago, living on the grounds of the Basilica, is a small group of nuns from Saint Mother Theresa’s order, The Missionaries of Charity. There are over 4,500 nuns in that order operating 517 missions in 100 countries. And where more appropriate for the Missionaries of Charity to work than at the Basilica of Our lady of Charity!
There are groups of nuns in the poorest sections all over Cuba. In Camaguey, the central part of the island, you find the Sisters of the Merciful Jesus, founded in Poland by Saint Faustina. In Havana, you have the Discalced Carmelites in contemplative prayer. Their order has been in Havana since 1702. All of these nuns are living in marginalized areas rampant with hunger and disease. This Coronavirus pandemic is nothing new to any of these groups since in Cuba they are used to dealing with cholera, malaria, and dengue, just to name a few.
When at the Basilica, these nuns of Charity spend their days in the most rural areas in the mountains serving people living in boxes, or under trees or in caves, if they are lucky. Materially they live with very meager means and totally on donations, on a day to day basis. But each one of them has a sense of joy for being able to serve the poorest of the poor; just like Saint Mother Theresa did in the slums of Calcutta.
Through Emmaus retreats, now being held all over the island of Cuba, men and women are flocking to their area parishes to find ways to help. These nuns are no longer alone in serving the poorest of the poor. Now you routinely see men and women in their white Cristo en Cuba Emmaus polos, proudly wearing them and proudly serving along with the sisters.
Cristo En Cuba is a Miami based, not-for-profit foundation created to evangelize and serve in Christs’ name in Cuba through Emmaus retreats. To date, over 1,000 men and women in Cuba have experienced the Cristo En Cuba Emmaus retreats. Another 1,000 would have experienced the retreats this year before this pandemic. Nevertheless, the foundation is poised to do great things by bringing the Good News to people starving for the Good News!
In transparency, I am a board member of the Cristo En Cuba Foundation and was a team member at their first Emmaus retreat in Camaguey, Cuba. I then had the blessing of serving with my wife as retreat leaders for the first Cristo En Cuba Emmaus retreat in Havana.
If anyone is interested in helping this remarkable cause email me at: email@example.com or call the Cristo En Cuba Foundation at: 305-587-1743.
Every Sunday night at 11pm, the Pastor of the Basilica of Our Lady of Charity, Father Rogelio Puerta, hosts a Zoom prayer meeting. Please join us at:
Here are pictures of these amazing nuns serving in Santiago, Camaguey, and Havana. I also included pictures of the Basilica of Our Lady of Charity.
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