I rejoice with you as you celebrate 85 years of mission. I want to thank you for your testimony and your service for the past 85 years and for welcoming lay or secular Dominicans like me to be part of the congregation by volunteering.
When I put myself in the path to the DVI experience I never imagined that I would experience all the new experiences that I did. All of them have left an unforgettable memory that only with death can be forgotten.
In the beginning it was hard, because of the language, the culture, the food, and the distance from my family, but you guys were a welcoming community that made me feel part of the family. During my stay in Norway I grew spiritually. I learned that i am not a single pilgrima, nor a hermit, nor an isolated hiker, but that I make part of a village that walks together for the same goal or ideal, with a same God and a single sense of faith, hope, love and charity.
The experiences that I shared with my immigrant Latin brothers in Norway has been one the most rectifying and satisfactory work I have done. It helps me grow in my day to day life not only in my professional field but in the spiritual aspect, ethical, and personal. I felt very useful to offer support to the people that are all alone in Norway, a lot of them sick or in prison. It was very gratifying to serve as a bridge of communication with their families from their native countries, because they are too sorrowful for not knowing much of their love ones that are there. It was also gratifying to have people come to Sta. Katarinahjemmet to pour out with me. I discover that it is fundamental for people to have and to know that they have someone they can talk to and share their problems with in their own native language. Some one that is available to listen and accompany them without critizing or questioning them. Someone they can pray with and regain strength to continue.
I believe that as our general chapters says, for a Dominican roaming is living over those “fractured lines” of humanity, to share the luck of those without a home, wounded, and foreign to respond to the new realities, wherever they may be, to be “useful” to those others who defend our mission and determine where we should go.
I give thanks to the friars of Colombia for believing in me and allowing me to travel, to the Oslo sisters for receiving me in their home, to the volunteers that shared with me day to day and to DVI for facilitating this mission, I thank God and the Dominican charisma for permitting what I lived. DVI was the most beautiful experience of my life. Thanks once again and congratulations for you 85 years of service.