Belize is an independent and sovereign country located on the north eastern coast of Central America. It is bordered on the northwest by Mexico, on the east by the Caribbean Sea, and on the south and west by Guatemala. The rolling blue waters of the Caribbean, wash over and refines the tiny pearls of glittering sands on the seashore of the nation of Belize.
From June 29 to 22 July, 2019 Sr. Josephina D’Souza, Vicar General, held an official Visitation to the communities in different districts of the Country. She visited the familiar and not too familiar grounds which she walked thirty years ago while she was in formation to be a Pallottine Missionary Sister.
She was received at the airport by Sr. Consuelo Burgos, Provincial Superior and Sr. Josefina Allamilla, Provincial Vicar. The first week she visited Pallotti Convent in Belize City which a community of 12 Sisters young and old. Last year the main convent building was demolished and the construction of the new convent is in process. At the moment Sisters are temporarily housed in a small infirmary building. Here mainly Sisters are engaged in school, pastoral work, feeding the poor, visiting families and evangelization. She visited Bishop Lowrence Nicasio of Belize diocese and shared great concern of having lack of vocations in Belize. With great simplicity and fraternity he showed his care as the number of our Sisters are diminishing. One of the Sundays Friends of Pallotti who are the back bone of fundraising for the convent building, met Sr. Josephina and shared their activities and future plans.
From 5-7 July, with the leadership of Sr. Josephina we held our Provincial Chapter. With the except, uncertainties and even fear of the unknown. Steadily and surely we saw works of the Holy Spirit in the person of Sr. Josephina spreading her wings wide and enveloping a Province in love, determination and resolutions. We were proud of how powerful we are when God is with us. After two and a half days, the scene had changed. With calmness and coolness, resolution and peacefulness but, with a ton of work to follow.
The visitation continued to the northern area of the Nation to the district of Orange Walk. Here in the community two Sisters live and are fully engaged in pastoral and Catechetical work. Followed by a long journey to Punta Gorda which is located in the Southern part of Belize. It is a most picturesque section where rolling hills and gushing springs fill us with awe and love for the greatest artist that lives. Here is located the Novitiate Nazareth which was the cradle of Belizean and Indian Sisters who were formed to be Pallottine Missionary Sisters. The Novitiate is situated four miles from the southernmost town bordering Guatemala. Only three Sisters live in this community, they minister to the people who live nearby and also to the Ketchi Indian villages studded on the foot of the hills. They are also engaged in managing their retreat house by hosting different groups from USA and Belize.
A trip to Benque in the west of the country, was a memorable one as we recall the first pioneers Sisters from Germany laid the foundation that has grown for 106 years. We visited the first parish Church of our Sisters on the feast day of Mount Carmel. We are grateful to the German Province and to the sisters who toiled in the not too friendly terrain of the tropics, but indeed to the many lives they touched in Belize. Having completed the visitation Sr. Josephina had set her footprints in the entire country that over 200 Pallottines lived and served to the poorest of the poor. The Visitation was an enriching time for all of us. We are ever grateful to Sr. Josephina for her love, concern and courage in which she animated the Sisters to face the reality and be awake to create a new life to live the Charism according to the signs of the time.
Sr. Stephen Franco, SAC