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Africa, why do I love you?

A missionary returns from Cameroon.

These five years of missionary life were for me the supreme gift for my 60
years as a Sister of Marie Auxiliatrice.

Africa, why do I love you?

For the radiant beauty of your sun
your luxurious forests, trees, flowers and fruits
for the irrestible charm of your women
for the bewitching smile of your children.
That is why I love you

preparing the meal

_ For the warmth of your welcome,
your simple joy in living
your freedom from the constraints
of time and regulations.
That is why I love you

For the life you share,
for you are first of all a mother,
giver of life and nourishment;
when there is enough food for three
there is enough for six.
That is why I love you

funeral procession

_ For your inclusive celebrations
the dancing and singing
to mark birth and baptism
death and funeral rites
anniversaries and invitations
always something to celebrate.
That is why I love you

There are the artistic colourful costumes
created and worn solemnly
for every important date in the calendar
the special hairdo sculpted
carefully, patiently, lovingly
That is why I love you.


_ Because no one is a stranger in your home.
You are at home in our home
What is mine is yours.
You will always have a roof.
There will always be food to eat
You will always draw kindness,
which is another name for friendship
because you are a mother,
we are all brothers and sisters
That is why I love you

suffering, a school of wisdom

_ For your hidden suffering,
for your boundless courage
for your deep aspiration to open up
all the hidden treasures of your history,
your culture, your philosophy,
tradition and modernity hand in hand
in the constant struggle
for a more humane society for all
in spite of all the ills that beset it.
In your poverty often the source of deep suffering
the seeds of infinite wisdom are already germinating.
That is why I love you

Marie Claire visiting a family

_ Because five years ago, I came to you
Was welcomed into a community,
peaceful, hardworking, joyful
Then I was able to come close to you
to your people who were sick
to your children,
to those who were suffering.
Then I was able reach down
into the heart of your life.
That is why I love you

Because I lived these years
in your Church, young and vigorous
evangelical and enterprising
announcing the infinite gift
and joyful hope
That is why I love you


_ I thought I was coming to give
and I received much more
I have only one word to say: thank-you
one sentiment to express: gratitude
one prayer to offer: thanksgiving
one wish to make: let us go forward together
answering the call of the Lord
faithful in the day and in the night
in the morning and in the evening
opening up to new calls.

the call of the night

A poem by Sr. Marie Claire
(Translated from the French)