The main idea of all the activity is to make reparation with ardent and active love for the coldness and the betrayals that Jesus receives, especially in the earthly tabernacles.
The “Spigolatrice” is animated by the greatest zeal for the salvation of souls. Among these persons she always has a preference for the poorest and the most abandoned. She loves them with a priestly heart, that is to say with the same love of Christ and she gives them her full attention so as to present them, shining with grace, to Jesus.
The apostolate is not useless even though it is for only one soul; it is the ear of corn, dropped by reapers, that would be completely lost if it were not gathered by the humble and industrious “Spigolatrice”.
The “Spigolatrice” works in the apostolate with humility and perseverance without worrying about external success always animated by strong faith and holy enthusiasm.
The apostolate of the “Spigolatrice” is insignificant before men, but great and precious to the Lord provided it is carried out with great love.
A few experiences by some ‘Spigolatrici’.
Experience 1 – Working as a nurse.
Therese, a Spigolatrice, works as a nurse in a Home for elderly and sick priests. She regards her job as an opportunity to be of service.
“I have been working at my present job as a nurse for nearly three years. In the morning I have to leave home very early to have time for prayer and Holy Mass at my place of work. We are always very busy, as we have to look after so many sick priests and help them as much as possible. There are also so many other light duties such as making beds and serving at meal times. We have also to work on a shift basis and that includes night duties”.
For Therese this is an enriching experience:
“My close contact with the elderly and the sick has helped me to become more aware of the fact that every person is an individual and has his own particular traits of character, some good while others are less appealing.
I keep in mind also that the priest is a consecrated person who has worked unceasingly in the Lord’s vineyard. Now that he has grown old and is at times even infirm, others should be there to help him. It is priceless work!
As with any other job my work has its own difficulties but thank God the Sisters who run the Home are always there to help. But above all the important thing is to ask for God’s help at the start of each day. Each day brings with it its own particular burden and reward”.
Experience 2 – Working in the field of drug abuse.
Nancy, another Spigolatrice, has been working in the field of drug abuse for the last twelve years. She remarks that being a Spigolatrice helps her in a very demanding profession. Here are her exact words:
“I have been working in this field for these last sixteen years. Working in the field of drug abuse can be very demanding unless one is provided with adequate support. In fact the Organisation we work with offers both spiritual and psychological support.
However I must admit that even though I have all this support many times I return home over drained and very tired. I believe that being a Spigolatrice motivates me to remain in this job. I have always and I still find a lot of support from all Spigolatrici especially my community. Everyday before I go to work I find time for prayers and for the Holy Mass. Being in union with God in prayers and receiving the Eucharist motivates me and gives me the strength for the day”.
Experience 3 – An experience in Albania.
During the summer holidays of four years ago Maria, a kindergarten assistant, together with four other Spigolatrici, went to Albania to spend a few days helping the local people, especially youth. Maria tells us about this visit to Albania:
“We arrived in Albania on the eve of the Assumption of Our Lady. We stayed at the parish of Mamurras where a Gozitan priest from St. Lawrence, Fr. Manuel Cutajar, has the pastoral care of this parish. The church is dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady and a painting of Our Lady ta’ Pinu was sent to this parish from Gozo.
We had planned to arrive in Albania on that date to be able to celebrate the feast with the Albanians. The feast consisted only of the celebration of Holy Mass by Fr. Manuel Cutajar. These people have no Sunday clothes. Every day they wear the same outfit and a pair of plastic slippers on their feet.
On the 16th of August, the feast over, we started the work we had planned. The children and youth were all eager to learn. We organised a cookery course and another in English language. We were so glad when every morning the participants came to tell us that they had tried at home the recipe we demonstrated the day before.
What impressed us most was the yearning to learn that these young people had.
As these people are deprived of many necessities, little things make them happy. No advertising is necessary when organising activities. The day before we left we organised a social gathering for youth. They enjoyed very much the games we played together and the refreshments we offered them. But it was the ice cream they liked most. They even asked us if we had brought it from Malta”.
Experience 4 -A Missionary Experience.
Maryanne, how did your adventure in India start?
I made my first voyage to India in March 1983 for a three-month trial in Kerala with the Indian Spigolatrici. Then I moved over to Bihar with Marcette, another Spigolatrice who is Maltese.
I must honestly admit that these experiences were a real social, cultural and environmental shock, seeing the precarious conditions in which the majority of the people of Bombay and Culcutta lived. At Dumka, the missionary camp of Marcette, we visited several villages where I understood the big amount of work she did. When the first difficulties were overcome, this became a positive experience. Back home, after a serious reflection and hours of prayer, I informed my superiors of my decision to return to India and this time with the intention of staying there.
What were your duties in India?
I made my second voyage to India in March 1984, again accompanied by Janet, who was the Spigolatrice in charge at that time. Immediately we set out to Bihar where Marcette was awaiting us. I was assigned several activities related to sanitation. As I was already a trained nurse, I attended a six-month course on the treatment of leprosy, an illness, like T.B., very common in India. Twelve other students and myself attended this course held at the leper hospital. I must admit that this was a rather difficult experience, but however it prepared me well for this kind of work.
The first work assigned to me was the care of children suffering from polio. The “School Health Programme” in the Diocese schools was also assigned to me. Accompanied by one of the native girls I often visited families who had sick members. I cannot remember how many babies and children I have given vaccines against contagious diseases!
What memories do you have of this missionary experience?
I stayed in India for twelve years. At first it was really difficult, especially when I was alone, in a foreign country and with nobody to communicate with. But in spite of all this I can say that this was the most beautiful experience of my life. Although problems and sufferings were with me everyday yet I felt a certain satisfaction that filled my heart with peace and joy. In circumstances that demanded a great spirit of sacrifice, I turned to Him, everlasting source of light and peace, to enlighten the way. But not all was dark; the people loved me and showed me respect and gratitude and I felt like one of them.
Now I am back home but my heart is still in India. Although I am not physically there, yet I feel very close to the Indian people and I always remember them in my prayers.