Sr. Rosa López, SHM (Ecuador): But in that very moment she received the grace to realize what she was doing, and to correct herself, and she said, “Clare, you came here to surrender yourself.”
Every once in a while, the Servant Brothers and Sisters of the Home of the Mother in Ecuador make missionary expeditions to Puyo, the Ecuadorian jungle, with groups of young people. In every community they reach, after hours of walking with mud up to their knees they are welcomed with a bowl of “chicha”, a drink that is prepared by chewing yucca and leaving the juice that is produced to ferment.
The offering of the “chicha” forms part of the welcoming ritual of the tribe. If you reject the “chicha” it means you are rejecting their hospitality, their friendship. If the missionaries want to preach the Gospel in that community they should drink the “chicha”, even though it causes a natural repugnance.
Sr. Rosa Lopez tells us this edifying anecdote of Sr. Clare’s first visit to Puyo.
I remember that after the sisters returned from Puyo, we had our usual Sunday meeting where everyone shared their experiences from the trip. Sr. Clare told us that she was with the group in the community of indigenous where they had arrived and a woman drew close to her to offer her the chicha, the typical drink there. Her first reaction was to leave with the children so as to avoid drinking the chicha. But in that very moment she received the grace to realize what she was doing, and to correct herself, and she said, “Clare, you came here to surrender yourself.” She went back to where the lady was and she drank the chicha.
She told us that it was very hard for her, but that she saw God’s help in everything. And she repeated, “We give a little bit, but God gives everything, everything.” And she encouraged us to go to Puyo to evangelize.