The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary came to Malta in 1911 during the persecution in Portugal according to the wish of Cardinal Ferrata. Their first house was the Old Seminary in Mdina , then after 6 months, as the Seminary was promised to another congregation that was exiled from Algeria, they went to Villa Bologhna , which belonged to Lord Strickland who was in Australia and stayed there for 7 years.
When Lord Strickland returned to Malta, the FMM went to Birkirkara, opposite of the Oratory for 2 years and finally in 1920 they established themselves in Balzan where they are up to the present day.
The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary are 6966 Sisters of 80 Nationalities spread in 800 houses in 76 countries around the World in the 5 continents. The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary have all kinds of Ministries: Education, both of children and adults, Social Work, nursing, handicaps etc. They have no priority for any work except to go where the Church needs them especially among the poor.
• To view the world and its realities from a feminine perspective.
• To enable women to be aware of their dignity and nurture their self-confidence and self-esteem.
• In a divided world: to live as sisters in international communities.
• In a consumer society: to witness to simplicity of life.
• To deal with the effects of globalization on the poor, the marginalized and on the environment.
• To always share the love of God.
We participate in the universal mission of the Church and undertake our mission in a multicultural society which is searching for meaning. Coming from different cultures we strive to witness to unity in diversity within our communities.
As women of faith with a contemplative outlook on life, we centre our mission in the Eucharist, the bread for our missionary journey. We walk with our brothers and sisters, sharing the hopes, aspirations and brokenness of our world and we strive to live a balance of prayer and action. An example of this may be seen in a sharing from our sisters in Singapore where they work in collaboration with other congregations and organizations in response to the exploding problem of human trafficking that has hit them in recent years. They offer various programs such as:
• Training and Awareness sessions about human trafficking - which includes the formation of volunteers for advocacy and research; and contact and help for victims of human trafficking.
• Street walks in the Red-light area where they meet anything from 80 - 100 sex workers in a single night (they have estimated that over the last two years they have met as many as 10,000 sex workers many of whom are trafficked women). They walk among them as followers of Christ offering them the loving embrace of God’s presence in the dark lanes where they are forced to work.
• Networking with our sisters in the countries where these women are coming from. In the words of one sister who is part of this project “this is an experience of bringing hope, healing and empowerment to those on the edges of society. Very often all that we do is to wipe away tears and witness to God’s loving and healing embrace. In the midst of a suffering world, I have come to a new-found meaning of being Eucharist through the sacrifice of the many women migrant workers who leave their countries in search of rice to be placed on the table so that their families may have life. In as much as we bring hope to the suffering, our response becomes truly Franciscan and Eucharistic.
Helene de Chappotin three weeks before she died said: “I am consecrated to God, my end is Love” these words continue to resonate in the hearts of almost 7,000 FMM around the world who continue to live the Gospel of love.
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