Havana, Cuba, Jul 6, 2021 / 12:50 pm (CNA).
The Church in Cuba offered a special Mass of thanksgiving for the 75 years of consecrated life of Sister María de Jesús Miranda, who has served the poor and sick as a member of the Congregation of the Servants of Mary.
The Mass was offered July 5 by the Archbishop San Cristobal de la Habana, Juan de la Caridad Cardinal García Rodriguez.
Miranda was born in Spain Jan. 13, 1928 and has served as a missionary in Cuba for 64 years. She experienced firsthand the attacks on the Catholic Church by Fidel Castro. The religious was one of the 14 sisters from her congregation who stayed on the island despite the religious persecution that had already led to the expulsion of 130 priests, a bishop, and several religious.
In his homily for the Mass, the cardinal thanked God for the sister’s life and said that God created the Spanish nun for “love, for peace, to serve the sick, he created her for eternity.”
The archbishop of Havana related how as a child, Miranda “stole pears, stole apples, and made life impossible for the neighbors.” However, “since she had a ‘bad dad’ and a ‘bad mom,’ the beatings they gave her for these thefts set her on the right path in life,” he added.
As she grew up, the cardinal said, several young men fell in love with her, but she “preferred a beloved who was in love with her from eternity and asked for every beat of her heart.”
Cardinal García thanked the Holy Spirit for instilling in the sister “the desire to be faithful to her religious vows” and to be the mother of “so many sick people, caring for them, comforting them, encouraging them, suffering with them and trying to make their illness peaceful and holy.”
The cardinal said the sister is more Cuban than many others and that in Heaven there is a great celebration being prepared for her and all those “whom she took care of, all those whom she helped, are there.”
“From Heaven they are awaiting her with a great celebration and they are anxious for her to arrive as soon as possible, to return to the fraternity and love lived here on earth,” he added.
Finally, the cardinal said the Church gives thanks for the nun’s 93 years of life, her 75 years of living her religious vows, and “for the wonders she has done, for what she has meant for Cuba, for the women who take care of the sick, for the Church.”
The nun renewed her vows and thanked God for his faithfulness, “not because it’s a celebration for me but because I owe everything to him. He has been faithful until now, and will continue to be so.”
“Not me, I have failed several times, but he is merciful, I give infinite thanks to him,” she said.
The nun also thanked her parents for giving her life, for the affection with which they brought her up in the Christian life, and said that “together with my nine siblings, we were very happy as a family.”
“I also give thanks to my community who have overflowed with affection, tenderness, and kindness,” she said. “I thank you, bishop, whom I appreciate so much, all the concelebrants; this has been tremendously moving for me, because I wasn’t expecting it, they have given me a huge surprise,” she added.
Finally, Miranda said the only thing that pains her is not being able to be with the poor, “because the pandemic has separated me from them somewhat.” and that she prays to God for them, so that he may give them what they need most.
In 1961, the Cuban government ordered the expropriation of Church property and the expulsion of priests and men and women religious. Fourteen religious from the Congregation of the Servants of Mary remained on the island, including Miranda.
Up to that year the congregation had seven houses throughout the island, but only the house in Havana has remained open. Before Castro took power, the order also had more than 100 sisters who visited and cared for the sick during the night and early morning hours, the charism of the order.