In the last General Chapter of the R.A. we were encouraged by the motto: "Impelled by the Spirit, let us risk being at the frontiers…".
As a community in La Rioja, Argentina, we felt the call to go to what is yet unknown in our missionary service, to look at new horizons and to listen to the new challenges of evangelization. This opened our eyes and hearts and we found, as we went through our daily activities, young people lying on the roadside, deprived of their links with their family and community, excluded from the educational system, the health system, youth who were disoriented, almost lifeless. We became aware that, like many Christians, we would pass beside them, hurrying to go to our catechesis meetings, to Mass, etc., and that upon our return were still there, waiting for someone to notice them and take pity, to heal them, to lift them up and give them a new chance at life.
In Community, we listened and discerned on this reality that many young people live in our neighborhood due to problematic substance abuse. We presented a project to the Congregation to help us finance the construction of a house, and we also decided to join others who were already rendering this service. We organized ourselves, lay and Sisters, in view of the wounded young person on the roadside, seeing in them a human being in need of renewed life and not just someone with addictions.
We joined a new pastoral care activity to become a church that takes the initiative, that goes out to others, that gets involved, that accompanies and lives as a family. We are part of the "Big Family of the Homes of Christ", a community area that accompanies and receives persons in situations of social vulnerability and/or substance abuse, where we seek to be a Home, receiving "life as it comes to us". We coordinate with various programs and agencies of the Provincial and National State, for a comprehensive approach in all its complexity. We want to live a Pastoral Ministry that is a reflection of a merciful God. That is why we seek to "receive life as it comes" and make of it a place where no one feels judged nor condemned.
In the Neighborhood Centre, the youth can finish their primary schooling, take part in various workshops and sports activities, play games, go for walks, have a snack and dinner together. Those who have problems with the law are accompanied by lawyers from the Diocesan Social Pastoral Center. We also network with state institutions that deal with addictions, where they can receive psychotherapeutic support. The mothers of these young people are accompanied by the social worker and one of the Sisters who coordinates the group. Those who have been convicted and are in prison are assisted.
As a preventive measure, we carry out different activities with children and pre-adolescents, who are given something to eat. The aim is to generate new conditions of integration for young people in vulnerable situations. We provide an integral view of formation that includes the values of faith and the creation of work opportunities linked to the "Care of the Common Home".
Sister Mercedes Frogel R.A. South Atlantic Province