From file: A migrant stands by the sea at Karatepe refugee camp on Lesbos island, Greece | Photo: Vangelis Papantonis / Archive / EPA
From file: A migrant stands by the sea at Karatepe refugee camp on Lesbos island, Greece | Photo: Vangelis Papantonis / Archive / EPA

For the second consecutive year, a mission of the Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo (Scalabrinians) has departed for Lesbos, the congregation said on July 31. The mission will help and support thousands of refugees on the Greek island.

For the second consecutive year, the itinerant mission of the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo (Scalabrinians) is helping to support thousands of refugees arriving from the Middle East and Africa, the congregation announced on July 31.

The initiative is possible thanks to the cooperation of the Community of St Egidio and to an agreement that has led to a series of new initiatives in Italy and in the rest of the world.

The mission on Lesbos, organized by the European Province of Scalabrinians, is one of them, the congregation explained.

Assistance in border area

The collaboration with the Community of St Egidio is an "extraordinary sign" and offers a "possibility for wider action of our service and to be in communion with migrants and refugees," said Sr. Neusa de Fatima Mariano, the Superior General of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of St.Charles Borromeo.

The congregation pursues as its mission the service to migrant people. Sr. Neusa de Fatima Mariano went on to say that, thanks to St Egidio, "for the second consecutive year, we are providing assistance in this border area, where there is a stronger call for help."

'Lending a hand'

The mission will last "the whole summer," she added. "We will lend a hand to families, to mothers, to fathers, to little ones," Sr Neusa de Fatima Mariano explained.

This mission was promoted by the Scalabrinians as part of the pope's call for an "outgoing [outward facing] church." Nine nuns will live on Lesbos for the next few months to assist migrants, focusing their activity on camps where thousands live in degrading conditions that endanger their lives.

Experience in response to pope's appeal

"This experience is a response to the pontiff's appeal to go to the human peripheries. There is constant alarm on Lesbos and we have to respond," added Sister Neusa.

Sr. Milva Caro, Provincial Superior of Europe, said the emergency was a call to "mobilize to help refugees who have never stopped crowding the routes of the Mediterranean. Although perhaps this doesn't make the news anymore, thousands of people, women, unaccompanied children" are travelling in search of "hope", she said.

"The missionary activity is fundamental not just to respond to primary needs but also to provide comfort, which is essential for those who have left everything behind and who have often seen their dearest ones fall during the journey."

 

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