Praise is also being given in Turkey: Urban gardening

Will we be the same?

Our fraternity of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart is located here on Büyükada island. It is one of the four islands on the Sea of Marmara in Istanbul, Turkey. The fraternity consists of three sisters: Sr. Zita Gutang (Philippines), Sr Gigimol Sebastian (India), and sr Miriam Oyarzo (Chile).

Our mission in this Muslim land has its mission “to be present” through the witness of evangelical life in the Franciscan way, bringing peace and good to all. Simple and domestic dialogue is the heart of our mission, and today more than ever, it is an instrument to “unite the whole human family” (LS, n.13). We feel that our mission is to take care of our common home, promote justice, and build peace. But our small fraternity also wants to be a bridge that unites people.

We went through the pages of Laudato Si’ and felt responsible for safeguarding Creation. When we, as a community, deepened the awareness of various abuses that our Earth suffers, we wanted to initiate a change of lifestyle, in our small way, starting with “giving life” and “cultivating” every kind of seed we found at home. Now (September), we no longer need to buy vegetables at the market. Instead, we collect the fruits of our garden.

First of all, our campaign of urban community gardening started with the preparation of small pots with seeds of each species and then preparing the earth. We have prepared a specific place to sow indoors, where the sun came in the morning and cool in the afternoon. It was the place where we took care of life! Then came the time of waiting, the hope of seeing the first signs of life appear. When the miracle arrived, it filled us with simple but immense joy. With the small pots now with the sprouts, we began to prepare a space to create our “urban garden” and started the second part of our adventure.

In April, two months after starting to “sow life,” the Lord thought for us that cultivating the land was the first step to take care of real lives. Twenty people arrived in our parish community, all foreigners, men, and women who, during this Covid-19 emergency, were released from various penitentiary centers in Turkey but who, having nowhere to go, came here to us. Together with them, we began to love, care, cultivate, and prepare the land to transplant our sprouts. Along with this work, our community began to take care of their lives and form a family.

Sr. Miriam Oyarzo
Franciscan Missionaries of Sacred Heart
Büyükada – Istanbul


Posted on

8 September 2020


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