Fourty years in Guinea Bissau

Sr. Rosangela de Oliveira, born in the town of Tarumã, Assis – San Paolo (Brazil), goes back to Brazil after 40 years dedicated to Guinea-Bissau.

Missionary of the Immaculate from 1968, sr. Rosangela defines like this her being a missionary: to be ready for any need, in a total availability, because no place, no situation can suffocate the apostolic desire of a missionary.

Sent to Guinea-Bissau, sr. Rosangela had the possibility to live her apostolate in different communities, at the service of the poorest. In Mansoa she did different activities in the health field, serving twins and orphans,  in the evangelisation work and especially teaching catechesis. Thanks to her attitude of putting herself at the service of the Kingdom, sr. Rosangela experienced that it is the mission in its self which makes solidarity sprout in the life of a community and in her own life; it is the mission which pushes to go out of own self in order to go towards all the realities which have to be reached.

The first challenge she had to face in the years of mission on the sacred soil of Guinea was to learn the language in order to be able to communicate with the people and to come to know the reality so complex and different from the one of Brazil. This meant to get closer and to participate to the life of the people, of their joyful and sad events, to come to know the culture and the local traditions. Observing the reality, in the effort of understanding a world different from hers, sr. Rosangela saw how much it was needed to put herself at the service in the field of healthcare. The people was so poor that needed everything, but the most urgent need was in the healthcare assistance, especially in the villages. There was the need for serving the most vulnerable and at risk: the children, the twins, the orphans, the malnourished, the pregnant women.

Fourty years in Guinea Bissau. sr. Rosangela.

Sr. Rosangela had to be quick in learning the Kriol, the language that together with Portuguese is the official language of Guinea, and to start to train the health agents in the villages. The beginning was very simple, with small sanitary structures to give to the people at least the essential services. In the same time she started also to spread the Word of God through catechesis because it was important to show to the people how much God loved them.

The second challenge was to believe that the mission is not only to do many things, but to witness with our life what we announce. Witness of life and action must walk together, thus we have constantly to create communion among us, respecting our cultural differences. Life speaks as much as the word! People look at us and should “feel” and understand from our life that the voice which is shouting more loudly is the love for God and among us.

After 40 years the feeling which comes from the heart can be summarized in one word: gratefulness. There is so much to be thankful to God for the gift of the missionary religious life and, in a special way to be thankful to the people of Guinea-Bissau who had welcomed me with much affection and love in every place where I have been.

To leave everything for health reason is not easy! Sr. Rosangela, however, says: “I cannot say that I have finished my missionary journey: in Brazil I will continue my mission, where the Lord wants and until He wants. God shows me the grace, the strength which transform everything: love. It is only love which unites our realities”.

Sr. Eliane Armoa, Guinea Bissau


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