After eight humanitarian missions on the African continent in the last seven years, the Work done through Fraternidade – International Humanitarian Federation (FIHF) and the Grace Mercy Order (GMO) has been able to get a closer look at some of the difficult reality faced by some countries, such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, and Angola. During this period, in the core of the volunteers and the monks of the Grace Mercy Order, as well as the missionaries of Fraternidade – International Humanitarian Missions (FIHF), grew the hope of someday being able to establish a permanent base for work in some of those countries.
And so, year after year, our Work matured this aspiration through the living experience of missionary practices, and today we announce worldwide the foundation in Angola of a Monastery of the Grace Mercy Order.
For Mother Teresa, the coordinator of the Monastery Nossa Senhora dos Pobres e Santos Inocentes (Our Lady of the Poor and Holy Innocent), what is most important in this pioneering stage will be the balance between monastic life and the life of practicing voluntary service for fellow beings: “I feel that this mission here in Africa has two flows: one is the monastic life itself and another is the life of service, which in the beginning will be offered as a support for the Santa Isabel House of Children, which does work with children in great need of attention and love. And the Monastery comes to join the task of service, mainly in the prayer-work, a very necessary tool in these times. We feel that one activity adds itself to the other, they complement each other, they merge. It is as if one thing depends on the other to take place”, Mother Teresa states.
Mother Teresa continues: “We are going to approach the African continent with all humility. An inner attitude that comes from the recognition of the suffering caused by poverty, by famine, by war, and on top of everything else, what oppression caused and causes in the human soul. That is why, for us, the presence of a Monastery in Africa will be able to represent a new possibility of redemption. It is not by chance that the Monastery has the name that references the ‘Poor and Holy Innocent,’ so our heart, which aspires to build that union with God and with the Christic life, must also be there, trying to recognize Christ in each African brother or sister. And that must be done with much gratitude.”