Next year occurs the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first PIME missionaries in Myanmar and the 90thanniversary of the visit of the blessed Paolo Manna, as superior general to these lands from (18th February to 21st April 1928). Preparing ourselves for the next General Chapter, the question we ask ourselves may sound more or less like this: “Can we also the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate enter in the history of friendship between PIME and Myanmar?”
October 24-25: From Yangon to Taunggyi in Shan State
We witnessed the excellent work of the Charity Sisters with people who are with physical and mental disabilities.
We paid a visit at the tomb of Br. Felice Tandardini, a PIME missionary who spend 70 years of his life in Myanmar, in working in simplicity and love for this people. The structures that exist still today speaks of him, the artificer of God, with rosary and hammer. We visited other places dear to PIME, the cathedral of Taunggyi, one of the dioceses founded by PIME where Msgr. Giovanni Battista Gobbato is buried, the first bishop of Taunggyi.
From 26th October to 1stNovember: In Yangon in a poor village away from the Hlaing River.
To reach there we travelled a short distance in the car, then crossed the river with the boat and in bike to visit the streets of the village.
The meeting with the different realities and religious congregations
We met and listened to the experience of various religious congregations working in the various sectors such as: education and formation of young people, the disabled, the attention and the promotion of women. Caring for people with HIV/AIDS, street children, women and girls at risk of human trafficking, etc…
They are prospective of humanity that not just questioning us. The poor people are always at risk. Boys and girls who do not know to read and write. Many come from the situations of great suffering in the family and from contexts of war, abandonment and “to manage themselves” from their early childhood.
And then in the Offices of the Association of New Humanity: For 15 years that the Association has been carrying out social projects in the various fields such as: working with minors, Centers for the disabled, in supporting the monastic schools for Buddhists. Among the innovative activities there is a project to realize which is a center for young people who are drug addicts.
Before returning to Italy, we visited the golden Shwedagon Pagoda. It recalls the religious and cultural diversity of the country. The formation of people coming from different religions and cultures is also a commitment of the Church to contribute to peace, harmony and reconciliation in the country.
This brief visit to Myanmar stimulates us to come out more and more from the “comfort zones” and go to the peripheries, placing ourselves within the challenges of a people in transition towards the democracy that remained for many incomplete aspects, the contrast between the wealth of natural resources and the poverty that affects many people, the obscure areas where opium traffickers and the black market of precious stones, the difficulties of going beyond ethnic affiliations to strengthen the national identity. A society in great evolution, great changes, great openings.
We returned to Rome leaving an open door… Perhaps one day we too can be a small sign of hope for that world that awaits not only freedom, but is profoundly marked by spirituality, by the desire to see the face of God.
Sr. Antonella Tovaglieri, General Direction