By Fr. Cosmas Kithnji Kubai, OMI
Do we care for our fellow Oblate colleagues and confreres?
Once a Religious Sister phoned me to inquire if I could spare some time to anoint and give communion to the father of one of their Sisters. She said, “We’ve been looking for a priest, and preferably one who could speak his language, but no one is available.”
After I accepted, they asked me the amount of stipend I needed. As they were asking this, they described to me the situation of the family: “The man has been living in the city with his son, receiving treatment for a terminal illness, and he lives on expensive medicine, and visits the clinic to see a specialist almost every week. The son had to quit his regular low-income job, to get time to take him to the clinic. He now runs a small shop from which he pays rent for his family, his children’s education, and his father’s treatment.”
After hearing the story, I told her, “As Missionaries, we are there for the people, and when you are struggling, we should reach out to you. After all, he has freely given his daughter to serve in the Church as a Sister. I feel sorry when people lack the Sacraments and, in this case, and even sadder, when a Sister who serves God’s people spiritually every day has no one to serve her dad spiritually!”
We set aside one Sunday afternoon and went to visit her father. I heard his confession, administered the sacrament of the anointing of the sick, and gave him Holy Communion.
Since then, I have gone to visit him several times with the Sisters. Whenever we visit, we link up with the daughter who is a Sister working in another distant part of the country, and she never forgets to express her gratitude to her fellow Sisters of the Congregation.
The closeness and the bond of these nuns touched me deeply. They make sure that the father of one of their own receives the spiritual care he needs. Do we care for our fellow Oblate colleagues and confreres this much?
Once when we visited him, he said: “When I look at you I see the sacrifices I have made in life were not in vain.” He mentioned how he struggled to educate his children and, at some point, to take care of his aged and dying father. He said, “But God has blessed me with a Rev. Sister in my family and, through her, I now have all of you as my children.”
I saw in him a very grateful and contented man. What a grace it is to reach that stage of life with a sense of contentment and achievement! There are not many material riches for him to show, but he is joyful and grateful!
This experience taught me several lessons:
- The good we do, come back to us;
- We, as Missionaries, should always look into our people’s needs, irrespective of how small they might seem to be;
- A lot of material riches are not necessary to live a life of joy and gratitude;
- Fraternity – it is worthwhile caring about our colleagues and confreres, and even their families. It does them a lot of good.
Fr. Cosmas Kithnji Kubai, OMI