I stayed in PNG for almost two weeks, but the experiencing and learnings I have taken from my time there will last a life time.
In particular, many of these learnings relate to my role and the role of all pastoral practitioners.
Each day there were stories of hope. On one occasion, we met a young woman on the roadside who was a victim of domestic violence and rape and who had an infected leg wound. While applying a dressing to her leg a young woman came up to us and said “thank you for your heart”.
The words spoke to us of a heart, which sees where love is needed and acts accordingly, the heart, which bears witness to the incomparable and inviolable worth of every human life and witness’s human dignity, the bedrock of Catholic social teaching.
In summary, my experience at Madang demonstrates the importance and value of:
1. Walking with people patiently and compassionately,
2. listening to the voice of the other, entering the lives of the other, journey with the other,
3. Being aware of the cry of the heart of the other and about acceptance of the situation as it is.
I would like to commend Jenny Tait-Robertson for the amazing work she is doing. Jenny is following the footsteps of Jesus and by her actions lives the vision of St John of God Healthcare “to invite people to discover the richness and fullness of their lives, give them a reason to hope, and a greater sense of their own dignity”.