Franklin (Agenzia Fides) - "We are grateful to Archbishop Julian Porteous for encouraging and supporting us in the beginning of this adventure. We are also grateful for the time we can carry out our service in the Archdiocese of Hobart: we have a great love for the people of Tasmania". This is what Sister Mary Michael, a missionary of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, a congregation that operates in Tasmania with a mission opened in 2013, told Fides.
Located off the southern coast of Australia, Tasmania is an island known for its vast wild and rugged territories, largely protected by parks and nature reserves where the Church has done so much in terms of evangelization. "Our mission - Sister Mary tells Fides - is to dedicate ourselves to loving God and making him loved; we live this vocation by supporting renewal in parishes through Eucharistic Adoration, the formation of faith and the building of a sense of community".
The nun reports: "We devote particular attention to young people: we accompany them to being an integral part of the community. The new generations - she observes - get lost in a materialistic and consumer-oriented culture. Many of them believe they are not of value unless they are not attractive or 'useful' or in possession of the latest technology. They struggle with their self-image and sense of self-worth. Young people - she stresses - need to know that they are loved, that they are a gift to themselves and that can make a difference in the Church and in the world".
The Sisters of the Immaculate Conception are involved in the parish of Huon Valley, in the city of Franklin, but also serve in different schools and dioceses across Tasmania, offering activities, conferences and spiritual retreats for young people. "In every aspect of our apostolate - reports Sister Mary - one of the main ways in which we assist young people, and the whole community, is to propose the practice of prayer: a relationship with God is the basis of all the work we do".
In this way, over time, an annual "missionary School" was born which trains young lay people, men and women for the pastoral ministry.
"This initiative - explains the nun - aims to lead young people to know God, to experience his love and to discover how they can bring that love to others. Since 2008 we have been organizing 'long-term' courses, with moments of prayer, talks on faith, friendship and opportunities for participants to develop their gifts and talents for the service of their parish and the Church. In Tasmania, since 2013 - concludes Sister Mary - we have started a simple dialogue. Through the guidance and protection of Mary, we seek a life of prayer and mission, through adoration, prayer, charity and faith formation for the building of the Church". (ES) (Agenzia Fides, 29/1/2022)