Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God!
~ Leviticus 19:32
Keeping this in our minds, we set out on our outreach to the Sisters from the Convent and Church of St. John of God, Old Goa on the 2nd Sunday of Advent.
As we assembled at the gate, Joshua Silveira briefed us about the outline of the programme, and together we prayed that the Lord may give us the grace to carry out the mission we came for. As we entered, we were warmly greeted by Sr. Wendy, the Administrator and Sr. Fatima, the Superior as they helped us settle in the hall.
Progressively with each stroke of time, the elderly women gathered one by one with weary smiles and an uncertainty of what was in store for them.
We commenced the evening with an introduction about our community given by Valonia Noronha, after which we had a few actions songs to set our programme in motion. The elderly women began building a bridge by humming the tunes, clapping hands and tapping their feet to the rhythm that echoed in the room. There was a spark in their eyes now, never diminishing, as they requested for their favourite “Mandos” to be sung and some even sang along expressively.
After a session of Mandos, we had a snack break during which each of us went around serving and interacting with “our grandmothers” as they poured their hearts out. We resumed with the singing while their requests for songs continually drizzled, – Konkani mandos, English golden oldies and even Frère Jacques requested by the French teacher!!! With the ever-growing enthusiasm seen, these beautiful women even came up and danced. It was a different satisfaction altogether to hear their joyous laughter, toothless smiles and hushed giggles, quite contrary to when we first saw them.
Soon after, we had Praise & Worship where all of us, in unison, raised up our prayers and petitions. The elderly women, too, offered up their prayers after the encouragement given by the Sisters. It was remarkable to see their faith, even in their current situation. As rightly written in
Isaiah 40:29- “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak”.
As our time was nearing its end, we all sought the blessings of these brave hearts, something really priceless to each of us. Even with the sparse and broken words, their voices sank and touched our souls. We presented them with a few daily necessities like rice, cereals and biscuits and also handmade Christmas cards.
As we bid adieu, we saw how well they gelled with us as they waved their fragile hands and they had a glow on their face requesting us to visit again soon – the very purpose of our visit had been achieved! We left with a deep impact on our conscious as they inspired us with their yearning hearts and unwavering hope.
God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of love, of power and self-discipline.
~ Timothy 1:7