Little Sisters of Jesus in Spain, Murcia, a new start.

Murcia communityMurcia community

'And you, who do you say I am?'

This question is constantly in our minds as we find our place in this new community which is beginning to take shape. We feel at home in our new flat, full of light, on the first floor of a three storey building. We have started to make friends in the stairwell and there are so many opportunities for helping each other out in small ways. When you arrive in our street you see straight away that we are at the heart of 'little Marrakech' as our neighbourhood has been named. Going into three nearby shops, I found groups of men sitting on rugs drinking tea and watching the football. We often hear Arabic being spoken in the street. The town is small and everything is on a human scale. You can reach most places on foot.

We enjoy sitting in the squares and to feel the freshness of the trees. So many different faces pass by latin, african and from the Magreb. There is also a big group from Eastern Europe. We have also been struck by the number of people living on the street who beg from the tourists as they pass by.


Murcia is one of the Spanish towns, hardest hit by the economic crisis. Added to this, the hard winter destroyed many of the vegetables resulting in the loss of jobs. Juana found it very difficult to find work for this reason, going from refusal to refusal. She is now delighted to have found a job not with strawberries this time, but with Melons! She is hoping for at least three months work.

But in this fragile situation people never loose their joy in celebrating feast days and special times. There was Holy week and the religious rituals of that solomn time, the Spring featival, and then the different intercultural celebrations encouraging the participation of various cultural groups, and even a special celebration for the Street people which they themselves animated.

We are struck by the numerous groups who give time to helping those who are without work, and there is an real social awareness of the problems that many families face. Many of these groups depend on money from the State and this year they will receive 70% less but continue to do what they can despite this.

There are many Churches in Murcia which often remain open for adoration. There is a deep religious sense and and a choice of pryer groups or Gospel study groups, 'Lectio Divina'. The Neocatecumenate is strong and they even run a University. There are several enclosed Communities where we can go for days of silent prayer.

The Lay community of Brother Charles is strong and we form one family. Their doors are always open for us and we share meals and times of prayer and reflection. We have also been able to meeet with several muslim families and have been invited to share their table too.


Josefa who is retired gives time at a centre for immigrants, and also has joined a pottery class for people who live on the street. Three afternoons a week she also works for a tailor. Begonia also works works at a centre welcoming those who do not have access to social services. It is a privileged place for making new friends. She also teaches spanish to three neighbours who have just arrived in the country.

So we all continue our search. What is our particular 'word', our 'community word' that gives flesh to our charism, here in this particular place of Nazareth and Bethlehem? 'For you, who do you say I am?' This is the big question we carry in our hearts.