‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us’ (Jn 1:14). The Word came to us in our own time and space – and was subject to our human necessities.

These necessities are real. The Gospel message only needs the embrace of willing hearts. But those who go out bearing this message need spaces and places in which to make it known. Spaces where people can gather, spaces where the Word itself can be proclaimed, small libraries and, of course, spaces of quiet and of prayer. In Indonesia, in the fishing village of Lamalera on the island of Lembata, the Daughters of Our Lady Queen of the Holy Rosary would dearly love to be able to explain the Gospel message to the children and young people and pray with them.

And there are also many adults who want to hear it. In fact, there have been Christians in Lamalera for 130 years now. But the sisters want to give a concrete expression to the phrase ‘dwelt among us’. They need a convent, where Christ can dwell.

They have asked our help so that they can build this convent, together with a classroom and a reading room, and at the same time they plan to document the history of the island and the story of how the Jesuits first called the islanders to follow Christ. Certainly, there is no shortage of work. Sister Maria Simprosa lists some examples: ‘Two kindergartens, three primary schools, two secondary schools – our mission in Lamalera includes educational, pastoral and social work.’ So the Word is putting down roots here, and is recognised by its fruit and works. For as Saint John Paul II wrote, with reference to the new millennium: ‘The charity of works ensures an unmistakable efficacy to the charity of words.’

This article can be found in Mirror 0517.