E-BULLETIN #215 10-Apr-16
“Let the holiness of God shine forth” (cf. Mt 5, 16)
In this jubilee Holy Year divine mercy has been made concrete for all to witness in the gruesome martyrdom of four daughters of Mother Teresa in Yemen. Perhaps it could be interpreted as a supreme gift to the Holy Foundress herself, a modern champion of divine charity and mercy, on the eve of her much-awaited canonization.
Pope Francis’ recurrent challenge to all Christians, but particularly today’s priests and religious, to reach out to the peripheries of society, where they will encounter Jesus, has surely been put into practice by this group of religious. Their whole life of sacrifice, for those at the fringes of society in Yemen, was one of outstanding service. Even in the midst of life-threatening years of war and conflict in this country they remained faithful, continuing to serve those to whom they were sent. It was their absolute love for Christ and his people that kept them going, even to the laying down of their lives – ‘martyrs of today’ as they were identified by Pope Francis.
St Paul’s experience of the indomitable love of God in Christ is exemplified in these sisters:
“What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? … For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Together we join in thanks to the Lord for the beautiful gift of these sisters who laid down their lives for Christ. Along with Blessed Teresa herself they are new heavenly intercessors and ‘Martyrs of Charity’. May the story of this incident, recounted by the only surviving member of their community, Sr Sally mc, inspire us to deepen our own vocation and Christian faith. That ‘the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church’ remains true even today.