Christmas came a bit early for the Missionaries of Charity who serve in the Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico, which has half of its territory in Arizona. And it wasn’t just a stocking-stuffer either.
The diminutive nuns attired in their distinctive white saris with blue stripes that match those of their foundress, St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, are now driving a brand new, 15-passenger Ford Transit courtesy of an anonymous donor and San Tan Ford. The Diocese of Phoenix’s Catholic Community Foundation helped to facilitate the gift.
Until now, the sisters have been relying on a seven-passenger van for their work among the Native American community on the nearby Navajo reservation. About 20 children receive instruction in the faith on Saturday mornings, with the sisters transporting them to and from the church for classes and also for Sunday Mass and other activities.
“We have to make so many trips back and forth,” said Sr. Mariosa Soreng, MC. That’s because out on the reservation, houses are far apart — sometimes more than a mile apart. “We pick them up and drop them off. It’s a lot of trips back and forth, sometimes two, three, four trips.”
Not anymore. The sisters traveled to their sister Missionaries of Charity’s convent in South Phoenix and picked up the new van from the Ford dealership later that day. They planned to put the van to work right away back in the Diocese of Gallup where their mission serves as an oasis of hope.
With the new van, the sisters have more than doubled their ability to transport passengers. The sisters not only transport children, they also transport adults who want to attend RCIA or marriage classes at the church.
“We the sisters teach all the classes,” Sr. Mariosa said. “This is the faith that we teach them.”
CCF director of development David Pederson was told the sisters had been praying for a vehicle, and this van was the answer to their prayers. Dcn. James Carabajal, the foundation’s CEO, said it is a “servant organization” that works to provide resources to grow in faith.
“Generous donations such as this remind us, during the busy Advent season, that it is through giving that we truly receive,” said Dcn. Carabajal.
The anonymous benefactors, reached by phone through CCF, were tickled at the sisters’ joy in receiving the new wheels. “I don’t know if you can hear it through the telephone,” one said, “but I’ve got a huge smile on my face.”