A missionary returns from Cameroon.

These five years of missionary life were for me the supreme gift for my 60
years as a Sister of Marie Auxiliatrice.

Africa, why do I love you?

For the radiant beauty of your sun

your luxurious forests, trees, flowers and fruits

for the irrestible charm of your women

for the bewitching smile of your children.

That is why I love you

preparing the meal

preparing the meal

_ For the warmth of your welcome,

your simple joy in living

your freedom from the constraints

of time and regulations.

That is why I love you

For the life you share,

for you are first of all a mother,

giver of life and nourishment;

when there is enough food for three

there is enough for six.

That is why I love you

funeral procession

funeral procession

_ For your inclusive celebrations

the dancing and singing

to mark birth and baptism

death and funeral rites

anniversaries and invitations

always something to celebrate.

That is why I love you

There are the artistic colourful costumes

created and worn solemnly

for every important date in the calendar

the special hairdo sculpted

carefully, patiently, lovingly

That is why I love you.



_ Because no one is a stranger in your home.

You are at home in our home

What is mine is yours.

You will always have a roof.

There will always be food to eat

You will always draw kindness,

which is another name for friendship

because you are a mother,

we are all brothers and sisters

That is why I love you

suffering, a school of wisdom

suffering, a school of wisdom

_ For your hidden suffering,

for your boundless courage

for your deep aspiration to open up

all the hidden treasures of your history,

your culture, your philosophy,

tradition and modernity hand in hand

in the constant struggle

for a more humane society for all

in spite of all the ills that beset it.

In your poverty often the source of deep suffering

the seeds of infinite wisdom are already germinating.

That is why I love you

Marie Claire visiting a family

Marie Claire visiting a family

_ Because five years ago, I came to you

Was welcomed into a community,

peaceful, hardworking, joyful

Then I was able to come close to you

to your people who were sick

to your children,

to those who were suffering.

Then I was able reach down

into the heart of your life.

That is why I love you

Because I lived these years

in your Church, young and vigorous

evangelical and enterprising

announcing the infinite gift

and joyful hope

That is why I love you



_ I thought I was coming to give

and I received much more

I have only one word to say: thank-you

one sentiment to express: gratitude

one prayer to offer: thanksgiving

one wish to make: let us go forward together

answering the call of the Lord

faithful in the day and in the night

in the morning and in the evening

opening up to new calls.

the call of the night

the call of the night

A poem by Sr. Marie Claire
(Translated from the French)