January 2022
Supporting the Work of Mission Circle
Welcome to the 12th Edition!
January is the start of the new year, of course, but it marks the end of the first year of Friends of Mission Circle Newsletter with our 12th issue. We want to say a very sincere thank you to all who have supported us this challenging year with your ideas, kind words, and, of course, money. Thanks to you we have continued to send money each quarter to Haiti and are planning an increase in the amount for the coming year. We have contributed significantly for food in Haiti, Honduras, and Cuba because that was such a tremendous need. We have new projects in Honduras (see below). God's work continues because of you--thank you so very much.

January is also when we receive receipts of contributions for our income taxes. We will be emailing these statements to all our donors. If you would like a print copy via USPS mail, please email ginieckert@gmail.com for Haiti donations and Donna Kinney at rdldn2017@gmail.com for Honduras donations. We are happy to do that for those who want print copies.

If you want to honor someone's memory or give a special gift to loved ones, remember our year-round Alternative Giving (Click the red words to access form, send check for each mission as described below, print form and send to your loved one).

Thank you to those who have responded to the needs of the children in Haiti and the people of Honduras and Cuba! Since the July issue of this newsletter announced we are able to accept donations for Haiti, we have received 88 donations to support St. John Paul II Mission in Haiti, 5 for St. John Bosco Parish in Cuba, and 22 for Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Honduras. With your support, we can continue to air our brothers and sisters. If you want to help, here's how:

To donate to the Haiti mission and continue to sponsor your child or children: write a check to Partners with Haiti, write Mission Circle on the memo line and mail to Mission Circle c/o Gini Eckert, 280 Raymore Ave., DeLand, FL 32720. We are still requesting $150 per child, per year, or $15 per month, but will gratefully accept any amount. We are being aided in this effort by Partners with Haiti, a ministry of St. Paul Catholic Church in St. Petersburg which is a 501(c)3. We have been sending $4000 per quarter to St. John Paul II Mission with Fr. Ilric. Our board decided to send $5000 per quarter in 2022 to try to come closer to meeting their needs to support 4 schools for those beautiful children.

To donate to the Honduras mission: write a check to St. Ambrose Catholic Church, with Mission Circle on the memo line and mail to St. Ambrose Catholic Church, 380 S. Federal Highway, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441, Attention Mission Circle. You may also designate Women's Microcredit Project, water filters, or most needed on memo line. St. Ambrose has formed a sister parish relationship with Our Lady of the Rosary. St. Ambrose Mission Circle is a ministry St. Ambrose CC and donations are tax deductible. For questions about the Honduras mission, please contact Donna Kinney, 954-290-7952.

To donate to the Cuba mission: contact Diane Saffran at dsaffran@bellsouth.net to make arrangements.
Focus on Missionaries of Charity in Cuba:
by Gini Eckert
Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa's Order
When I started to write this article on the Missionaries of Charity and their work in our sister parish in Cuba, I didn't realize the order is, sadly, a topic of world news. You probably know about Mother Teresa founding this order in India in 1950, doing incredible work among the poorest and sickest people there, receiving the Nobel Laureate, and being canonized a saint.

You may not know that Missionaries of Charity (MoC) "has more than 3,000 nuns worldwide who run hospices, community kitchens, schools, leper colonies and homes for abandoned children" https://www.reuters.com/world/india/hindu-vigilante-groups-disrupt-christmas-celebrations-modi-territory-2021-12-27/
On December 27, the India government "'refused' to renew a permission that is vital for . . . MoC to be able to secure foreign funds, cutting off a key source that charity has depended on to run its programs for the impoverished."

On our visits to Cuba, we have been privileged to meet and work with some of the holy women of MoC. We learned they come from all over the world, and they all speak English as their common community language and also speak the language of the place where they are working. The current Superior General of the order is a German woman, S. Mary Prema Pierick. She visited Las Tunas in 2017, 2020, and again this year. https://www.motherteresa.org/sister-mary-prema-pierick%2c-mother-teresa-s-successor-visit-las-tunas.html

There have been four MoC nuns living together and working in St. John Bosco parish with Padre Alex. Currently, they have just two nuns and have been told not to expect more to be assigned. These women cook and take food to shut-ins, clean their homes, and teach the children. Their quiet devotion is inspiring.
Current Mother Superior of Missionaries of Charity with photo of Mother Teresa
Missionaries of Charity at St. John Bosco with children and parishioners
A nun helps Fr. Tom prepare for Mass at a home in Kilometer 7 on our first visit.
Mother Superior at a visit to St. John Bosco in front with 3 nuns who worked in the parish (including S. Cordelia, 2nd from left), P. Alex, his Eminence Juan Garcia Rodriguez, and Bishop Emilio
A Tribute to Sister Cordelia, MoC
by Diane Saffran
Please indulge me as I reminisce about S. Cordelia. She was among the first nuns Mother Teresa sent to Cuba when it reopened.  Her birth name was Sebastiammal Santiaga; she was born in India.
She dearly loved the children.  She had the most infectious smile. We worked on a project to make cloth hygienic pads for girls.  She was my liaison to distribute them and explain how they worked.  She knew I could sew, so one September she pulled me aside and asked if I could make little purses for the girls for Christmas.  She said she would like to put little useful things in them like pencils, rulers, and hair bows. I thought it was a great idea and got started on the project right away.  We brought the useful items for both boys and girls to give the children a memorable Christmas. 
From the pictures, you can see that S. Cordelia is older and a larger woman.  Did age and size stop her from dancing, singing, and playing with the children…Oh no!  She was just full of joy. Did her age impede her stamina?  Oh, no!  She kept up with the younger nuns with all the physical and mental work.  

One day we found the nuns preparing for their 60 students. Each student has a black/white composition book that the nuns keep for them.  For each lesson, the nuns hand-copy at least 8 lines per page for the lesson for that week.  They leave space for drawing and other artwork.  They write 1 or 2 pages for each child every week.  Sometimes they glue a picture in the book for the children to color.  These nuns create magic with what they have.  
To fill in pictures in their composition books, the children glue tiny shards of cut magazine pages to the page.  The nuns also cut little leaves and petals in various colors to glue to the page.  These tiny pieces of paper are kept in glass jars. 
For my final memory, I remember the day of the Feast of St. Mother Teresa, September 5, with a special Mass at the church to celebrate with the nuns.  As the nuns were leaving, we presented them with chocolates—Hershey’s Halloween-type chocolates.  They are not comfortable receiving presents, but we know how much they like their treats.  Candace Crownover always made sure to take care of them.  When Sister Cordelia saw the chocolates, she was indeed so pleased, and she said, “This is a gift from Mother Teresa, and we will share with the children.”

Let us pray for S. Cordelia that she rest in peace. Also we pray that the Missionaries of Charity will resolve their issues with the government of India and be able to fulfill their mission all over the world, including with the people of St. John Bosco.
Sister Cordelia with Diane and Padre Alex
Diane Saffran, S. Cordelia, S. Caruna, and P. Alex
S. Cordelia instructs the children.
Sister Cordelia working with the children
The composition books in use
S. Cordelia, who passed away in 2021, will be missed.
Mission Updates

P. Alex sent pictures of Christmas decorations at his new parish in Manati, top right; P. José Luis's parish, top middle; a couple dressed as Joseph and Mary holding baby Jesus with P. Alex, top left; and decorations and decorators at St. John Bosco, bottom. Both priests are praying for us.


We are helping to establish a medical lab in La Venta, 1 of the 3 municipalities of our sister parish. In addition, we sent money to begin much needed repairs at some of the churches and chapels. P. Gustavo says the communities receiving help must also contribute to the projects. He sent pictures of new doors for a chapel in one village. He wishes you all the blessings of Christmas.

All are welcome to attend St. Ambrose Mission Circle's first meetings: 1/26, 12:15-2 pm or 1/27, 7-8:30 pm in parish hall upstairs meeting room. The parish is located at 380 S. Federal Highway, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. For more information contact Donna Kinney at rdldn2017@gmail.com or call/text 954-290-7952.


Fr. Ilric of St. John Paul II Mission sent Christmas greetings and photos of the children receiving First Communion. Tracy of Mission Circle has printed the photos (all 288!) and created a book, as well, for them. Thank you, Tracy!
The hermitage of the village of Las Marías collaborated to replace doors of wood with metal.
First Communion on Christmas as Our Lady of Perpetual Help (1 of the 4 schools of St. John Paul II Mission)
Click here to check out all the new photos from Cuba, Haiti, and Honduras Missions: MISSION CIRCLE'S FACEBOOK PAGE
To Read and View
Waiting for Snow in Havana by Carlos Eire
In this space we recommend books and films that we have found that "take" us to Honduras, Haiti, or Cuba vicariously . We would love to hear from you about these suggestions and your recommendations.
I heard about Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy on NPR shortly after starting to visit Cuba. It was written in 2003 by Carlos Eire. The book is autobiographical. Eire was 11 when he was part of Operation Pedro Pan (Peter Pan), the 1962 airlift of children from Cuba to the U.S. without their parents. The book, told through the eyes of a child, won the National Book Award. The back cover of the book says, "Narrated with the urgency of a confession, Waiting for Snow in Havana is a eulogy for a native land and a loving testament to the collective spirit of Cubans everywhere." It really does transport the reader to Cuba of the 1960s.

Dr. Eire holds a PhD from Yale University and focuses on late medieval and early modern Europe in his other work.

This book are available through Hoopla at the Volusia County Library and other places, and it can be purchased new or used from many booksellers.

I am curious if any Friends of Mission Circle have experiences with Operation Pedro Pan to share. We would appreciate hearing from you!
Please continue to pray for the clergy and people of St. John Bosco parish in Las Tunas, Cuba; Our Lady of the Rosary parish in Sabanagrande, FM, Honduras; and St. John Paul II Mission, with four locations in Central Haiti. They are praying for us.

Also, please share our newsletter with your friends and family, and tell us what you like and what you would like to see in future issues!

May God bless you abundantly.