The Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a religious congregation founded in Germany on March 25, 1900 by Fr. Hubert Linckens, MSC. He gave it the name, charism and spirituality of his own congregation whose founder was Fr. Jules Chevalier.
In a time of religious indifference and individualism, as well as discrimination of the poor and marginalized, Fr. Chevalier discovered in the Heart of Christ the gratuitous and compassionate love of God for humankind. He believed that this love is a "remedy" for the evils of the time. Motivated by his experience of God and a world in need, Chevalier felt urged to make this LOVE known to all people. He expressed this in our motto: "May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be loved everywhere".
Fr. Linckens, filled with the charism and spirituality of Fr. Chevalier, and in response to a call to evangelize Papua New Guinea, put our congregation at the service of the Church and the world.
The congregation was from its very beginning motivated by a missionary spirit for a mission "without limits", open to respond to the challenges and needs of the time and place in whatever ministry, with a preferential option for the poor and excluded.
Today the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus are present in 17 countries on all continents: Australia, China, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, India, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Namibia, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Rumania, Spain, and the United States.
HIV / AIDS is one of the biggest challenges in Namibia and the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart (MSC) are involved in different ways in combating and in the prevention of it in the country. AIDS sufferers and those who are affected by AIDS are victims of the new leprosy of our time. Their sad lot led the MSC Sisters to be involved in preparing the families to relate in a better way to their sick ones, to embrace them as members of the family and to stand by them to the end of their lives. This is not an easy matter since the people are thinking that having or being affected by AIDS is degrading the good reputation or the status of the family.
The MSC Sisters have been operating Sacred Heart Hospice, the only hospice in the country for terminally ill patients since 1996. Part of this health facility is used for the AIDS patients, especially those who are in their last stage of their lives, those patients who are not accepted in their families and those whose families are unable to take care of them. Patients suffering from AIDS are usually still young and the emotion of denial is very strong in them. How painful it is to prepare a young person facing death. Therefore, our Sisters are trying to give their love, their caring, and their compassion to the sick in their agony, and help them to die with dignity. Generous volunteers, who have been trained by the MSC Sisters for this, are doing a great service by visiting the sick in their families, giving advice and offering practical help.
The Catholic Church in Namibia has developed a programme in prevention of AIDS. Some of our Sisters are working in this project of “Catholic AIDS Action”. This programme is doing great work in “Home Based Education” that is bringing information to the families, to the youth in the villages and preparing the families how to care for their sick ones in their homes. Youth and teenagers are given education in sexual behaviour.
One of our Sisters, a nurse by profession, is running a ‘Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy’ (HAART) programme of the AIDS patients. It is also a project supported by the Catholic Church. Our Sister is assigned for the care, counselling, taking blood specimens for tests, education, and dispensing medicine for HIV / AIDS sufferers in the south of Namibia.
Wherever our Sisters are, they are involved in taking care of the many orphans. Although some orphans are affected, but not yet sick, some treatment needs to be given to them since they are still living with their families. The MSC Sisters are providing education for them, food and clothing to the whole family, and they supervise their well-being while at home.
Counseling in this field is considered very important, since some families are still suffering from the traumas of war and torture. And when life becomes a burden for them, suicide is often the answer to their problems.
So, working in the field of AIDS has many challenging factors and they cannot ignore these. They are called to be God’s Heart in our world. Our Lord himself came into this world because He has a Heart for all people and today He uses us to make His Heart visible for those who are suffering from AIDS.