4th September 2016.
TO ALL THE RELIGIOUS OF THE CONGREGATION
“Unless a grain of wheat falls and dies it will not bear abundant fruit” –Jn12:24
My dear Sisters,
Today is the beautiful feast of Bl. Dina and we also celebrate with the Church the Canonization of St. Mother Teresa. Yet, at the same time, we hold in our hearts the pain of the sudden and untimely departure of our dear Isa. It was a surprise that towards the end of the Canonization ceremony, Pope Francis mentioned that Sr Isa Sola, a Spanish sister was murdered in Haiti 2 days ago and called for prayers for all victims of violence.
Isa was born on 24th May 1965, she entered the Congregation on 19th January 1985, made her First vows on 30th August 1987 and her Final Vows in 30th October 1992. After serving in Spain for a few years, she was sent as a missionary first to Equatorial Guinea from 1994 and then to Haiti in 2008. She was truly a multi-faceted person – professionally a trained nurse and an educator; as well as a composer and singer – CD Porque Nos Ama is her contribution.
On the 2nd of September 2016, while returning from the bank, Isa was accosted on a busy intercession. They bumped into her van from behind, shot her, she slumped onto the lady accompanying her, and the miscreants took the cash and fled. Isa was taken to the hospital where she was declared dead. …..
She was a breath of fresh air, a visionary, those rare persons who enter our planet with dynamism, zest for life, energy and great missionary spirit… a true daughter of Claudine….
Yes, I believe it is not the end, but the beginning of something new and that her spirit will live on especially in Haiti and the good work that she has begun will continue no matter what. I feel fortunate to have known Isa, and glad that I met her in Rome in July 2016. She shared with me her dreams for Haiti and I remember the sparkle in her eyes and the energy in her voice…the Prosthetic center was doing well… the Postulant that she accompanied was ready for Cuba… a plea for more RJMs… her heart and mind were geared to another project – a JM School in Port- au- Prince, and it was only last week that she was delighted with the first staff meeting.
But this life was suddenly snuffed out…
Yes, we have lost Isa through violence. We have two choices before us… to enter into this viscous cycle of violence or like Claudine to forgive – who witnessed the death of not one, but two of her brothers at the same time…they did not die immediately but had to be clubbed to death. We have some consolation to know that our dear Isa did not suffer much, she died instantly with the shots. Let this be an opportunity for us to be positive and forgiving and choose ways and means like Claudine to bring about greater healing and reconciliation in our wounded violent world. It is not accidental that at this point in history, we as a Congregation face unnatural deaths, rape, robbery and murder and thus participate in the Cross of Christ: to be merciful and forgiving especially during this Year of Mercy….
I conclude with the words of Isa that she wrote after the earthquake: Haiti is the place where I would like to stay. Haiti is my home, my family, my work, my suffering and my joy, my place where I meet God. And so to respect her wishes, the funeral Mass will be celebrated on the 8th September, the Feast of our Lady, at 8.00 am in Port-au- Prince Haiti, and she will be laid to rest in this country she made her home. May she rest in peace. May Isa inspire each one of us to be true missionaries and give our lives over to God as she did.
Monica Joseph, RJM
More below from other sources…
[Global Sisters Report] “…Solá’s death is a loss for Haiti, Landry said, in part because the Spanish missionary was at the center of so many dreams “to achieve for the disadvantaged.”
“This is a loss for Haiti that would have had many years to benefit from her creativity, her audacity, her expertise, her many talents,” she said…”
[Crux] “While Pope Francis was declaring Mother Teresa a saint in Rome, another strong-willed nun who exemplified her spirit, Sister Isabel Sola Matas, was being killed in Haiti after giving her life in service to some of the world’s poorest people…”
[Zenit] “We pray especially for Spanish missionary nun, Sister Maria Isabel Sola Macas, who was killed two days ago in the capital of Haiti, a country so tormented, for which I pray for an end to such acts of violence and for greater security for all. We also remember other sisters that recently have experienced violence in other countries.”