Jesus the Redeemer, anointed by the Spirit, sent by the Father to proclaim the Good News to the poor (Lk 4: 18), and who entrusted to His Church the proclamation of the merciful love of God, is the Origin and Foundation of our apostolate (AA 4, 1; DA 32). (Const. #75)
Missions: Permanent, Itinerant Missions and Mission Ad Gentes
“Jesus in His redeeming action responded to the needs of each one according to particular circumstances. Therefore, His evangelizing and merciful action transmits the love of His Father, thus, in the same manner the MPS shall live”
(Lk 4: 16-20; 7, 18-23).
According to the “Nistalian Rules”: “The mission strictly included a well-structured and distributed programming, of catechetical talks of moral instructions on the Christian life, of Evangelical proclamations of dense theological content, preset moments of prayer and prayers with the community of believers. This was a scheme that corresponded to the classical "Popular mission", as they preached it, among others, the Redemptorist Fathers73.
Yesterday as today, our Congregation, the MPS, open to the mandate of Jesus (Mt. 8, 19-20) to go all over the world along with the missionary Church, carries the message of salvation so that the seed of the Word may grow in those who have wandered away from Christ (Cf. Missionaries of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Writings of the Spirituality of the Founders, Fr. Agustin Nistal Garcia, Writings taken from the Original of 1919, p. 13, p. 5)
The Congregation considers the mission as all action, occupation or work carried out inside and outside the house in a personal or community way, but which contribute in bringing the message of salvation (Constitutions of 1983 No. 63.2). This mission may be: Permanent Mission, Itinerant Mission and Mission Ad Gentes.
The mission to the believers is one of the means of evangelization that the Congregation considered as proper and specific from its origins. “Since one of the main purposes of the sisters ofthe Missionaries of Our Lady of the Perpetual Help is to engage themselves in the missions; all shall devote themselves principally to this work”(C 84).
We conduct the Itinerant Mission in Team in some countries with the Redemptorist Missionaries, in other non-Redemptorists parishes and with lay people. The method used is the announcement of the Kerygma for a deep conversion, giving rise to communities of faith, giving emphasis on home visitations, human promotion, attention for children and young people and formation of the laity.
Mission “Ad Gentes”
The Mission "Ad Gentes" is a work specifically consecrated to Evangelization to those people who do not even know God. That is why, we, the MPS, “live as itinerants to be able to go to whoever has no knowledge of the Gospel (PCP II 104). To them we owe our special title, with the goal of making them participants of the faith in Christ the Redeemer” (EN 51-52; AG 15; 27)(C 85).
As a Missionary Congregation, we also participate in apostolic works where the unbelievers are of great majority (in China and India, for instance) and we intend through the means that are at our disposal, to realize the content of the Constitution no. 4: “…Among the needy, we alsoinclude the non-believers, to whom our missionary Congregation with the missionary Church spreads the message of salvation leading them to the knowledge and full communion with Christ in the Church”.
“As St. John Paul II says, "there is no separation or opposition between catechesis and evangelization. Nor can the two be simply identified with each other. Instead, they have close links whereby they integrate and complement each other” (Catequesis Tradendae (CT) No. 18. 1979). These are words which we can apply in our case if we consider missionary action as evangelizing action in a global sense”. “The same Fr. Nistal presents some texts from his "Rules" that both apostolates of the Congregation, i.e. the Missions and Catechesis are a single unitary and complex apostolate: “The main purpose of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Perpetual Help”, as written in one of his texts, is to save the most abandoned souls... through "catechetical missions …”.
Catechesis, in accordance with our regular tradition, refers rather to the continued, systematic and catechetical instructions which are normally taught in centers of our own houses, or other permanent centers outside our communities and also sometimes, for more or less long periods, in the farms and parishes in the barrios, where the primary intention is to prepare the faithful to receive the sacraments or for other important events in Christian life.
The catechetical ministry was one of the primary objectives that led our founders in the beginning of the Congregation, and which has traditionally been regarded as one of the priority tasks of our evangelizing mission.80 From there, we encounter in number 83 of the current Constitutions (of 2010): “One of the needs that inspired the birth of our Institute was the catechesis considered as one of the indispensable means to achieve its goals (CT 1). Faithful to this form of evangelization and attentive to the current pastoral needs, we assume the responsibility of participating in the formation of disciples and missionaries in the Church (DGC 233;DA 278)
“Our educational institutions integrate a pastoral project that harmonizes faith,culture and life from the Redeeming dimensionand apostolic charity (PCP II 626). We consider them as privileged opportunities of evangelization giving priority to theformation of evangelical values. Our formative proposal is inclusive, adapted to the reality of children, youth and parents. Moreover, we promote the dialoguebetween people of different cultures andbeliefs”(VC 96 b; EA 37) (C 86).
We remember our Mother Foundress María Teresa Rivera Carrillo telling us: "the school is the place where the values of the Kingdom are being lived and projected to the entire society... only the Catholic school can change people’s indifference and the children helped in this by being apostles at home").We extend the projection of the values of the Kingdom to Public Schools and to any place where we have access.
Casas Hogar (Home for the Homeless)
Since human promotion is an essential response concerning the preference to the poorest, this was marked in the historical journey of the Congregation through Parochial Schools, Family Houses for young ladies, Retreat House, Dispensaries, Institutes and Farm Schools for homeless girls (M. María Teresa Rivera Carrillo D-TR 2. CTJC, p. 45) which we still do through the “Casas Hogar”(Home for the Homeless) “The sisters shall give an integral formation in the Home for the boys, girls,adolescents and youth who are lacking sufficient family environment.”(D 87.1).
Under this apostolic activity, the Gospel according to St. Matthew 25.36 reminds us: "...I was in prison and you visited me" and also found in the CCC 2258: “Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being” (Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith - CDF, Instruction Donum vitae, Instruction 5). The contemporary term for this activity is restorative justice.
Charity has always been the guiding light of our Founders. It is the same force that we find ourselves among the lost ones in the prison cells. For this reason, both founders expressed the need to help our brothers and sisters in prison to let them experience the merciful love of God.
The sisters who are in charge of the residence for students, a place considered as a space for evangelization of those who because of their studies live outside their families, shall create an environment that favours the sharing of life together and the professional formation of the youth with the goal of helping them live their baptismal commitment (Dir. 87.2).