“Yes, indeed…! This is the country of the thousand smiles!”, the Kigali airport ticket agent answered pleasantly, paraphrasing the well-known touristic slogan: “Rwanda. The country of the thousand hills”. We had been telling him how happy we felt after our apostolic mission in the Diocese of Ruhengeri, in the North of the country, with its simply friendly and welcoming people.
The Work of the Church was ending a new mission in Rwanda, from 1st to 19th September 2022. Almost two hundred people had had the opportunity to take part in the various activities, retreats and encounters, in different places of the country.
The mission started with a meeting in Ruhengeri, the capital of Musanze District, with a numerous group of Supporting collaborators and members of The Work of the Church. Two talks of Mother Trinidad de la Santa Madre Iglesia in video were watched by the participants, followed by a dialogue, in two different groups. Finally, a fraternal and well-participated Holy Mass was celebrated.
We cannot forget to mention here the dedication and the apostolic commitment of that little group of members of The Work of the Church, spiritual offspring of Mother Trinidad, who live in Rwanda. Their apostolic zeal and their dedication during the mission – even taking some days off from work and sacrificing time with their families – and their enthusiasm were exemplary. It reminded us the apostolic impulse of the beginnings of The Work of the Church in distant places (Valladolid or Gerona in Spain, Guidonia in Italy…) where married people and families had to open up the way without the stable presence of the consecrated members, doing it with great dedication and self-giving. This is why, from these lines, we would like to ask for a prayer for those brothers who work relentlessly in far away places for announcing the richness that God deposited in the soul of Mother Trinidad in order to help His Holy Church.
Afterwards, a five days retreat was held for boys of the Minor Seminary of the Diocese.
Their testimonies at the end of the retreat speak for themselves: “I am now a different person than I have been before this retreat”; “In the Minor Seminary we go to the chapel every day and I prayed to God for my difficulties, for my exams…. But I have never said: Good morning, Jesus… I have really encountered Him these days”; “Why it has not been told to us before…?”.
The happiness and the light those boys were feeling in their souls did not have their origin at all in our poor work, so limited due to the barriers of language and culture… They came from a clear action of the Lord in their souls through the message of Mother Trinidad, and above all through their times of prayer, getting intimately in touch with Jesus throughout those days.
It was a very fruitful retreat, as we conveyed to the Bishop of the Diocese several days later, gathered with him to examine the results of our activities. He was very pleased with it. This activity should be repeated.
The following week, another two contemporary retreat were held: one retreat for young people, in English, in which thirty youngsters from different parts of the Country, mainly Kigali and Ruhengeri, took part; and another in French for adult men, also from different places, including the neighboring country of Republic Democratic of the Congo.
Both retreats were also very fruitful for the participants. It was especially remarkable the retreat for adult men. It is totally unusual there to see a group of adult men gathered, leaving their jobs and their families, for attending a five days retreat. In fact, the consecrated lay women of the Institution which manages that Retreats House – surrounded by a beautiful landscape, an example of the exuberant natural beauty of this country which becomes a permanent hymn of praise to the Creator – were quite amazed on seeing that group of men, always on time and faithfully attending every talk, time of prayer and liturgical celebration: “What have you done for gathering this group…?”, “So far we have never had a retreat only for men in this House…”.
Another example of the apostolic impulse of the members of The Work of the Church in Rwanda that prepared carefully each one of the activities and searched for participants.
The final event of the mission was held in Kigali. A quite numerous group of people, more than fifty persons of different ages, gathered to enjoy a whole day of faith-sharing and formation at “Christus Center” in the capital of Rwanda. They had the opportunity to know more deeply the gift God has granted his Church through Mother Trinidad and her Work, and to become more determined to take advantage of it, in order to strengthen their spiritual life as members of the Church, helping Her to present Herself before everybody in all Her beauty, as God’s dwelling place amidst Humanity.
It was ending this way another little step forward in the unnoticed sowing that year after year, since 2017, is being carried out in this beautiful and welcoming country; a sowing that is already bearing remarkable fruits of souls who, discovering more profoundly their being-Church, with a generous self-giving, are offering much more than “thousand smiles”: they are offering their own lives to help Mother Trinidad de la Santa Madre Iglesia in the mission of doing, near the Pope and the Bishops, the very “work of the Church” for God’s glory and the good of all souls. It will be surely Mother Trinidad herself who, from Eternity, will maternally smile on seeing her children “negritos” whom she so much loved and continues to love.