Sister Lourdes Fernandez MM

'Its A Small Church But It Contains The World'

By Sister Lourdes Fernandez MM 

Albania is a small country in South Eastern Europe known not only as the birthplace of the parents of the Blessed Mother Teresa but also because of its extraordinary history. The Albanian people and the Church suffered severe religious persecution under Communist rule. By the 1980s, albania had become the most isolated country in the world. In 1995, the Maryknoll Sisters found their way there. Here Sister Lourdes shares with us their experience in the land tha once was declared by Communist dictator Enver Hoxha as 'the world's first completely atheist state.‘

On May 1, 1995 the Catholic Church started activities in Pogradec,’ Veronika recalled, ‘and it brought happiness to my family.’ Veronika and four other young persons were baptized at Easter 1997 when Albania was in turmoil. ‘The darkness and ugliness of gunfire surrounded us but inside our hearts was a fire of joy and love,’ she said.