Our Apostolic Experience in Poland (06.2017).
Our one and a half months in Poland have been a very fruitful experience. Andrea and I arrived on May 2nd and we have had a great time because in the first days and weeks we visited many different places around Krakow and especially the Old Town. An additional joy for us was when Sr. Anne McNally, nds and her niece Patricia from Australia arrived in the community. We were able to join them a few times in a city tour, and getting to know the Old City and the Jewish quarter. Everything was about “our first time to see and taste” – to see the beautiful city that preserved the historical buildings from the Middle Ages and we’ve also enjoyed the taste of the Polish dishes. We also had a chance to visit Wadowice, the town of Pope John Paul II where he was born.
Our visit to Auschwitz were the most significant and really a moving experience. To see all the photos, places, buildings, and to hear the stories from our guide made us incredibly sad. This visit did not only tell us about the terrible history that happened to the Jewish people but also made us aware of other people who had died here from different countries or nationalities.
As part of our apostolic experience, we started our involvement in the Jewish Community Center (JCC) in the third week of May. JCC is a Jewish cultural and educational center that was created in 2008 by the help of the Prince of Wales. We helped the community during the Sabbath meal on Friday evening. We also had the opportunity to attend some lectures on Judaism from the Rabbi. Andrea and I were fortunate to visit all the Synagogues in the Old City during the event called “7@nite Synagogue”. It was a very significant experience for us not only because we could be a help for the community but we also met many volunteers and other visitors who came from different countries for the Sabbath meal. The community were not only grateful for our help but also appreciated our involvement and presence as Christians among them. Then in the fourth week of May we started our apostolate at the Montessori school. We had some presentations mainly about our countries – Costa Rica and Indonesia, in English and in Spanish. These presentations were part of the student’s English and Spanish subjects. We gave this class for both the Kindergarten and High School students. We also helped the students on their free time to study in between the regular classes.
We celebrated the feast of Pentecost with Sr. Michel from Brussels in the community. We invited the volunteers to join our prayer. Andrea and I prepared the prayer and simple finger food to enjoy after the prayer. Sr. Michel and Sr. Ania renewed their vows as it is the tradition of the Congregation to renew their vows on the feast of Pentecost. We were happy to meet some of our new volunteers who did voluntary work in our communities in France and to see again some of the volunteers whom we had met in Jerusalem. It’s a wonderful experience meeting people from all over the world and still looking forward to having the rest of our time and experience here in Poland!
International Novitiate – June 12, 2017,
Maria O. Malau NDS, Novice