In the heart of Vedado, in Havana, there is a book with live pages; I am going to tell you his story.
It is about our dear María Jesús Miranda Juango, the little nun with a giant heart and lavish hands. She was born in Aizoain, Navarra, from the marriage formed by Don Tomás and Doña Julia, on January 13, 1928. This home was blessed with the gift of her ten children, of which four would be Servants of María Ministers of the Sick .
Our sister made her religious profession on July 4, 1946, in Burlada. A few months later, on February 10, 1947, when the trips were one way but not back, she set sail for Havana, where she came to stay.
Seventy-four years have witnessed the “Cuban” love that María Jesús has been developing in her heart, translating it into concrete gestures of welcome, closeness, openness to integrate cultural diversity, a different climate, the ups and downs of history.
In 1960, she was one of the fourteen Servants of Mary who remained in Havana, after seeing more than two hundred sisters who lived on the island leave. These were difficult times marked by uncertainty, loneliness, and bad weather … María Jesús and her thirteen companions decided to continue being that small light that every night illuminated the streets of the city and restored hope to the faces of its poor and sick.
From 1985 to 2000 she served as novice mistress, teaching young Cubans how to be happy consecrated women, following in the footsteps of Jesus of Nazareth and broadening their hearts to welcome and transform society, from a small, punctual, effective and effective. But perhaps the stage of her life that marks us the most is the one that she began at the end of the year 2000, at the gate of our house of 23 and F. Many people arrive, poor, homeless; all in need of material bread, a medicine or open doors that offer them “a hug of humanity”. And they receive that hug in the merciful gesture of “the mother of all”, as they often say. How many prepared sandwiches! How many glasses of water! How many steps every day, combining patience with kindness, his ninety-three years with a normal working day!
For this reason, his words in the Eucharist for his 75 years of consecrated life do not sound “empty” to us, but very lively and real:
“Today is a day to give thanks to God for his fidelity, not because it is my party, but because I owe everything to Him who has been faithful until now and will continue to be so, I have failed Him several times but He is merciful . I give infinite thanks to Him, to my parents because they brought me into existence with so much affection, they educated me in the Christian life together with my nine siblings, we were very happy as a family. I also give thanks to my community that has always helped me to live the faith, it has overflowed in affection, in tenderness, in delicacy; I have lived with the Servants of Mary for seventy-nine years, counting the time of formation. I thank all of them, especially those who are not with me now but who have helped me through difficult times. Also to Monsignor Juan García, whom I appreciate so much, to all the concelebrants, for me it has been a tremendous emotion because I was not expecting them, they have given me a huge surprise … Thank you very much, ask the Lord for me to be faithful until the end of the day. death. The only regret I have is that the poor, whom I love so much, are not with me, because the pandemic has separated me a little from them, but today I ask the Lord for all of them to grant them what they need. Thank you very much, I would say like our holy foundress: “I don’t know how to thank the Lord for so many benefits.” Thank you all very much, thank you, thank you ”.
I dare to assure that Havana without María Jesús would lose something of its “real and wonderful” being. Without people like her we lose the charm, the tenderness, the hope. Perhaps the “greatness” of her is precisely to cultivate simplicity, to serve as the most natural thing in the world, to let the affection come out for those gestures of hers “so Navarrese”, and that we all, once known, yearn for. Ω