Rain or shine, Mother Teresa's order hands out food in Oppenheimer Park
By Nathan Rumohr
The B.C. Catholic
Rain or shine, the residents of the Downtown Eastside find the Missionaries of Charity serving sandwiches, drinks, and hot dogs every Wednesday.
"Even in snow the sisters are here," said Mila Lopez, who was joined by members of Corpus Christi Parish assisting the nuns. She said the sisters are very committed to their cause and show tremendous patience while serving a sometimes difficult crowd.
"Sometimes people push through the lineup and take two or three sandwiches, leaving others further back with no food."
Manny, a resident of the Downtown Eastside but not a street person, said this was the first time he's seen the sisters in action. "Seeing things like this brings joy to my heart," he said.
The Missionaries of Charity have been serving the Downtown Eastside for almost a year, after taking over from the Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement, who left in autumn 2011. The Franciscans had served the area for 85 years, but a decline in vocations forced them to leave.
"The departure of the Franciscans (painful for them and for us) and the coming of the missionaries marked the turning of a new page in the history of the Church in the Downtown Eastside," said Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, during his homily at the welcoming Mass for the Missionaries of Charity on the feastday of their founder, Blessed Mother Teresa, Sept. 5, 2011.
The sisters initially came to Vancouver in 1988, when Mother Teresa, after being invited by Archbishop James Carney, established a convent in Corpus Christi Parish.
Along with serving the poor around their East Cordova convent, the sisters visit shut-ins, minister to women and youth in prison, and run a summer camp for needy children.