Sister Maria Fernanda Ramirez Rivera (Mafe) is one of 600 Medical Mission Sisters and Associates trying to be present to others in the spirit of Jesus the Healer today.
Born in Popayan, Colombia, Sister Maria Fernanda Ramirez Rivera (Mafe) studied medicine, then worked in a remote jungle between Colombia and Ecuador. “Working as a general physician in the zone of armed conflict in Colombia, I spent most of the time caring for children who were victims of war and those who were forced to take part in this conflict as child soldiers. These children of war helped me to discover my religious vocation. I think their cry awakened in me the call for a more radical commitment to the Gospel.”
Sister made First Vows as a Medical Mission Sister in 2007 in Peru. On March 9, she will make her Final Vows in our Community.
Currently Sister Mafe is a member of our Callao community in Peru. During her pre-candidacy, she worked as a volunteer in the hospital Dos de Mayo, a hospital for people with few economic resources, which helped her get to know the Peruvian pediatric approach. During this time she came to explore possibilities of mission in Pachacutec, a town in Lima’s desert along the coast.
She says, “One day, a young mother came to my office with a child with severe disabilities. I was touched to know there were no options for going to any rehab because of the lack of appropriate means of transportation, the great distance to hospitals and the lack of money. During the weeks that followed, many other mothers came with children with disabilities. I felt we should do something for them. We found support from two NGOs and started with 10 children in September 2008.” Sister Mafe continues, “We offered physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, educational support, psychological help, social worker services and pediatric care. Gradually more and more came.” Sister also worked in a project for women with HIV and AIDS.
In addition to her medical service, Sister Mafe is active in inter-congregational collaboration both in reflection groups and in mission itself. She participated in disaster relief work after the earthquake in Pisco, Peru, and the earthquake in Haiti. Sister reflects, “The whole experience left me with the great satisfaction of having been there and having contributed from my being as a Medical Mission Sister, the commitment to try to make others know better the reality of these brothers and sisters (in Haiti), the desire to keep on supporting concrete projects of trustworthy organizations – and the treasure of the many people I came to know, with whom I could share the mission, to whom I could give my time, my gifts, my love, share a hug, a prayer, a word.”
We congratulate and pray for Sister Mafe as she takes her Life Vows as a Medical Mission Sister!
March 1, 2013