I arrived in Fiji as a Columban lay missionary in August 2017. Once in Fiji, I studied the language for three months. Studying a new language for the first time in my whole life was not an easy task for me! I’m so thankful that with Gods’ providence, I was able to manage and survive it!
One year has passed since I came back to Korea for my second term as a Columban lay missionary. Indeed, time has flown so fast. In that one year alone, many events have taken place. It is with great joy and contentment that I accepted my mission assignment at St.
Being a stranger in a foreign land wasn’t always easy, in terms of learning and adopting not only the language and local dialect but also the culture.
What makes a life a success in the grand scheme of things, that is, a success in God’s plan? Down through the centuries, the same message echoes: it is not through fame, power, strength, accomplishment, or acquiring a fortune that we make a success of our lives.
After a 14-hour flight from Korea, with a fierce wind and torrential rain waiting to greet me in Dublin, I realized that I had finally landed in Ireland. It was the first opportunity to experience the unique weather of Ireland.
Each of us could write a book on disappointments, because there are so many in our lives. In Pakistan, I have found that disappointments abound more than I’ve experienced in any other country I’ve lived in as a Columban missionary. There are many examples to choose.
I have just completed 40 years in Chile and for 25 of these I have been going to the oldest jail in Santiago called the “Peni,” which is pronounced like “penny.” It was built almost 200 years ago for 500 men. Today there are 5,000 prisoners, and two years ago it held 7,000 men.
More than 20 years ago, I left the Philippines for the first time as a Columban lay missionary assigned to Brazil. It was a very long journey that started from Manila to Salvador, Bahia, situated in the northeast of Brazil, its first capital, and where the Columbans worked.
I arrived in Pakistan in 1994 after joining the Columban lay missionary orientation program which included a focused study on Islam and the Pakistani culture. After four months of language study and immersion into the culture, I was excited to enter more deeply into my new world.
I am Irma Lara Cantago, a Columban lay missionary for many years. A high school teacher by profession, I was teaching for 15 years and at the same time involved in the parish, helping the catechist and lay leadership formation. I had the passion to serve and be with the people.