The Catholic part of the Polish Internet was flooded yesterday by news of a tragic death of a volunteer in Bolivia. I began to wonder why such news instead of causing my anxiety and wanting to close myself at home, only strengthen my desire for missionary work. Maybe it’s the hope for being a heroic martyr and a faster way to beatification. Perhaps it’s the feeling that I’m doing something important for someone. Maybe it’s my love for the poor and a desire to be among them. With the words of fr Kasper Kaproń OFM I discovered that it might be something else.
“The first call was at four o’clock in the morning local time: “We are preparing a material about the murder of the volunteer. Could Father say something? “.
Yes. For media murder is material. Today, it was on the news, and tomorrow it will not matter. There will be new, more attractive information. Who will be there tomorrow, when the desperate family will be feeling a great emptiness? Who will be interested in this other girl, who is now fighting bravely, but tomorrow will be going through a difficult struggle with emptiness?
Bolivia is a beautiful country with great people. I fell in love with the local people, their culture … And it hurts me when I read in the comments that “if you go to the less civilized countries, you should expect something like this to happen” (as some said). What happened today, however, in a sense, is the consequence of medial propaganda and the consequence of great inequalities in the world split into two worlds: those blessed with abundance and those fighting for every day. Propaganda proclaiming that you have to put up walls to protect yourself; propaganda proclaiming that the ones guilty are those of a different skin colour (lighter, darker): “They are to blame for all the evil in the world, all this violence,” or “They are responsible for my poverty … they have everything, and they keep using us.” In such a world there will always be murders for a few pennies; in such a world there will be fear, because the others are “uncivilised”.
Helena came to us to fight these inequalities and to proclaim that another world is possible: a world based on the Gospel. Let this death, as always, in Christianity, become a leaven of new missionary vocations: people free from fear, wanting to build a world without walls and inequality. Because the world as it is now can no longer function.”
At such moments, I want to go to the end of the world, to bear witness with my own life that we will not accept dividing people into better and worse, black and white, modern masters and slaves. We want to build a world of solidarity, friendship and love, and we will not rest until we are at least a little closer to a world like this. We will tear down walls and build bridges, even if we have world leaders, terrorists and people of hatred against us.
We are slowly approaching a great jubilee in our Congregation – the bicentennial of Philippine’s arrival in North America. Our first missionary set out on a long journey to bring Christ to people who did not know Him. Today often the missionary countries could bring their strong faith to Europe. Today, much more important is to work with those who feel excluded, to demonstrate a simple human solidarity and kindness and, above all, to be open to the fact that they have something very important to offer us. The best we can do is stop dividing the world into “us” and “them”, because it is such thinking that led to the death of Helena.
Let us continue building a better world, even if it means giving our lives for it!