Pastoral ministry is the act of caring for God’s people and walking alongside them in their Catholic formation. Sisters are called by the Church to care for the Christian Community.
Sisters pay special attention to our children. Children are precious. That statement is so deeply ingrained in us that it’s literally a matter of instinct. Threats to our children are among the things most likely to motivate us to Act.
Each day we should be thankful that we have enough to eat and enough resources to rely on, we should not lose sight of the fact that hundreds of millions of people—including about 155 million children worldwide—do not get enough to eat.
Jesus Himself emphasized the specialness of children on many occasions, especially in the Gospel of Matthew: “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me”; “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”; “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”
Sister Story: Sister Esperanza Principio, MM,
The protection of children is something that all Christians must concern themselves with. It forms the core ministry of Sister Esperanza Principio, MM, who works in the South American nation of Peru.
Sister Esperanza works with children and their parents who are impacted by poverty and hunger, or by an environment of abuse or neglect.
“In my years of experience as a Social development practitioner,” she says, “children are not always counted by the society to have voices of their own, their rights are not respected and promoted… children suffer from discrimination, poverty and malnutrition, risk not having access to formal education, and experience violence or neglect of a physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual nature.”
Many children in Peru go hungry or suffer from malnutrition. Others are neglected, either deliberately or because the adults must leave them alone at home in order to work. The pandemic has made the situation much worse, as many children can’t go to the schools that they relied on not only for education, but for a daily meal.
Among Sister Esperanza’s biggest priorities right now is helping children in poor and rural areas get access to nutritious food, and the educational resources they need in order to have a chance at bettering their lives and those of their families and communities.
“Families and their children often go hungry and we offer help,” she says. “In one family we work with there is a grandmother, a mother who has cancer, and five children, two of whom must work even during the pandemic. All of them are living in a small space including those two adult children. No one in the family has been sick with Covid-19, thank God, but they struggle to have enough to eat.”
This assistance requires money, of course, and Sister Esperanza says that has been an issue. “It is quite a challenge to find partners and donors. Partnership and collaborative effort has to be made in order to widely address violence, neglect and malnutrition that affects the children.”
“Imagine how much better your next meal will taste when you know you are sharing it with children who would not be sure of their next meal, except for your kindness. God bless you for living out Christ’s command to love one another!”
God is my shepherd.
I have everything I need.
He gives me rest in green pastures.
He leads me to calm water.
He gives me new strength.
For the good of his name,
he leads me on paths that are right.
Even if I walk
through a very dark valley,
I will not be afraid
because you are with me.
Your rod and your shepherd’s staff comfort me.
You prepare a meal for me
in front of my enemies.
You pour oil of blessing on my head.
You give me more than I can hold.
Surely your goodness and love will be with me
all my life.
And I will live in the house of God forever.