The Latin word movere has a double meaning: to move, and to motivate, or set in motion. And your love does just that – it sets motors running, pedals turning, wheels rolling – to the very ends of the Earth.

At 13,000 feet (4000 m), high up in the Andes, where most of us would be gasping for breath, the missionary sisters of Mother Laura Montoya (the Lauritas, or Missionaries of the Immaculate Virgin Mary and Saint Catherine of Siena) go visiting the indigenous Indians. They journey on foot, since the paths are steep and difficult in this poor diocese of Abancay in Peru.

In the past they travelled on horses or mules when they had heavy loads to carry. Most of the indigenous peoples live in small, far-flung hamlets. There is a public bus service that sets off between 2 and 4 a.m., and the Sisters are happy to make use of it, but this only runs twice a week and only to specific, central locations. And the Sisters simply cannot visit everyone on their mission journeys.

But Jesus ordered his disciples to go out to all nations – and that includes the Indians high up in the Andes. Fortunately, there are some tracks – not proper roads, but driveable – leading through the steep mountain slopes and valleys. With a vehicle the Lauritas could indeed visit ‘all the peoples’ at this particular ‘end’ of the earth. Then the seed of God’s Word could fall more often upon this mountain soil. The shining example of the sisters and their work helping with education and health care are already preparing the soil and making it fertile. We have promised them a more modern form of a mule – a four-wheel-drive Suzuki.

A jeep alone is no longer enough for the team of female catechists in Jos, Nigeria, however. Ten years ago we gave them a pickup truck. But now it is getting unreliable, and in any case it can only carry five people. These women have done wonderful missionary work, and the female catechists’ centre – a rarity in itself – has flourished.

Women from 43 different parishes now take part in the two-year training programmes at the centre, which is around 25 miles (40 km) from Jos. What they need now is a sturdy 30-seater minibus. The ones in the country are not cheap, but the import duty and the blatant corruption in the port of Lagos would make an imported vehicle still dearer.

Archbishop Kaigama has made a significant contribution towards the cost of the bus, but he can not afford any more. He places great importance on the catechetical centre, not least as it is a beacon for the dignity of women – in a region where Islamists are trampling on that dignity.

We have promised to help subsidise the remainder for the bus and for the work of the catechists. The Gospel of Christ must know no boundaries, encompassing both human dignity and the truth of the Word.


This article can be found in Mirror 0416.