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Canonical visit to Cuba

June 20, 2024

The visit of Graciela Francovig, Superior General, to Cuba has just ended a few days ago. Each visit has its peculiarity and this was the case with this one.

The only community on the island consists of four sisters. They have not yet been there for a year. The four are from three different countries and only one is Cuban. Sometimes communication is not as easy as with any other place because of the political regime and the constant power cuts. Entering or leaving the country is complicated.

If the visit of the Superior General is always awaited with joy, these circumstances made the joy of the meeting even greater . At the small airport of Santiago de Cuba we were held up for half an hour because they could not find our original visa (we were going as religious), which was carried by the Superior of the community and was on the other side of the door. There was some confusion between us and some Claretians who did not need a visa because they reside there.

On our way to Bayamo, we passed by the Sanctuary of the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, Patroness of the country . After entrusting this visit to her, to our sisters and to all the people, we shared what we had “and left over”, so that we could also share with those who were in charge of the Sanctuary.

Fernando Vega, Vicar of the Cathedral-Parish, came to pick us up in a parish van. Radoslaw Lydkowski (Radek), the parish priest, had prepared the meal for us, making sure that, if the sisters were traveling, it would help if they would invite us to eat at their home. The Parish Priest of Guisa was also present at the lunch. Fernando and Radek were at our disposal for whatever we needed, to take us to the Formation Center or to visit the Nazareth Project. This project provides training to children from five of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods.

The greeting to the Laity of the Mother Candida Family turned into a meeting that was sad to end. Even more so, when the young people joined in and openly spoke of their love for their own, for their land, of the need for them to remain. But simultaneously, they spoke of their desire and difficulty to leave in search of a future that they do not find possible there . That is why the sisters are more significant, because they leave their “outside” world, the one they long for and still need for their development and formation, in order to share faith and life with the Cubans . We also salute the Bishop of the Diocese, D. Alvaro Julio Beyra, with his welcome and unconditional support.

All these details make us feel like a small living Church, a true community, where we share and take care of each other. In her, we Daughters of Jesus are called to be a presence that offers hope.

María Teresa Pinto FI.