On Saturday, September 19th, the sun shone gloriously over Cologne. It announced the celebration of Nicola’s farewell party. It is quite a paradox to celebrate a farewell because it is sad to let go and say goodbye and Nicola was leaving Germany, after seventeen years, to go to Spain. However, her farewell was a celebration of gratitude for all that we have been able to share with her during these years, for all her commitment and for what she has sown in our hearts. The fruits of her vocation are evident. The number of those who attended Mass was somewhat reduced due to the coronavirus but the congregation was still very varied: her family, her community sisters, priests, single adults, married couples and families. They all wanted to express their gratitude and affection for the time they had been able to be close to her. During the Eucharist a very cheerful and energetic choir sang in both German and Spanish. We ended this joyous celebration by extending our hands to give her our blessing together with Fr. André.
The celebration continued in the courtyard of the church next to the missionaries’ house. I was impressed by the amount of people who kept arriving. It was lovely to catch up with people who we hadn’t seen in a long time. Many came from quite far away, but it was important for them to say goodbye to Nicola. Jesus brought us together again through her.
At the tables we shared enthusiastically while we enjoyed a tasty buffet. The sisters from Cologne invited us to play a game where we had to find adjectives for each letter of Nicola´s name. It wasn’t long before there was a long list of adjectives which described her. We had a lot of fun and, at the same time, we took this opportunity to express our gratitude to Nicola once again.
Some of the guests told us about their first meeting with Nicola and the long or short path that they´ve been on together since. We were enriched by each other’s experiences.
At the end of the celebration, Nicola addresses us with the words of Matthew: “Look, I send you like sheep among wolves: be cunning as serpents and meek as doves.” It is the phrase that she proposed to us and which she takes with her.
Dear Nicola, we wish you the light and discernment of the Holy Spirit for your future journey in Spain. May your heart continue to burn for Jesus. Thank you so much for what you have given us. Take with you all the good that we have been able to give you too. Jesus accompanies you and our love and prayer too. Safe journey!