Meister Eckhart, a great mystic, once said:
“If the only prayer you say in your entire life is ‘Thank You’ that would suffice”.
As 2012 rolled into 2013, we Columban Sisters said a big Thank You to God that we were able to uphold our promise to our Benefactors. The promise? It was that we would hand over all legal documents of house ownership to the families whom we had accompanied since the floods of 2010.
Our dream came true when four bishops from Ireland, as guests of Trócaire (The Irish Church Aid Organization), came to experience for themselves the reality of life in Pakistan and the work of Irish missionaries and Trocaire. They were: Bishop John Kirby, Diocese of Clonfert and Chairman of Trócaire, Bishop Noel Mac Tréinfhir, Bishop of Down and Connor, Bishop John McAreavey, Bishop of Dromore (Newry), Bishop Brendan Kelly, Diocese of Achonry and Mr. Eamonn Meehan, Deputy Executive Director of Trócaire. They were accompanied by Trocaire staff working in Pakistan, including Mr. Paul Healy.
It was a symbolic moment for us because the money we received became like the Gospel story of the ‘Five Loaves and Two Fish’ that fed the five thousand people. In this story Jesus shows that the miracle was in the sharing, the fact that everyone reached out and shared what they had with the other and when the fragments were gathered there was a ‘surplus’ that ‘filled twelve large baskets with the scraps left over from the meal’.
In our situation here in Pakistan we mustered up the five loaves and two fish with the help of two groups who helped us buy the land, our greatest expense. Then thanks to the boundless generosity of a host of generous benefactors from many countries across the globe, we were able to build the forty houses. When we gathered the ‘surplus’ we were able to put down roads for them; set them up with electricity, gas, a water supply and water tanks, plus ceiling fans as these are an absolute must in our arduous climate where water is a scarce commodity and summer temperatures soar to 50C, as well as a place for their animals and two tractors. On top of all this we also had enough to pay the lawyer to prepare the legal papers that were necessary for each family to claim ownership for their own house and property.
Each Bishop, as well as Mr. Eamonn Meehan and Trocaire staff members in Pakistan, together with Mr. Jawed Munawer, our Project Manager and we Columban Sisters handed over the documents of ownership on behalf of all of you who contributed towards our Project of Five Loaves and Two Fish.
Thank You to all our Benefactors, our Co-workers, our Project Manager, Mr. Jawed Munawer and all who contributed in any way towards this project which was indeed the work of God and all of us together, the labourers.
Loaves and Fishes
Love is like the loaves and fishes
the more we share it
the more it multiplies
until there is plenty for all of us
with baskets to spare.
By Sister Rebecca Conlon has been missioned in Hyderabad, Sindh Province, Pakistan since 1989.
Previously she was missioned in Korea and later was Novice Directress in Ireland