By: Jennifer Ristine
Magdala in solidarity with breast cancer victims and their families
My mother passed away from cancer in 2006. Despite it being 10 years later, memories of her 5 “battle years” remain vivid. It colored my days. Life was different. Her suffering and the ups and downs of good and bad news loomed over each day. In the end, the suffering of a loved one marks you.
Suffering a terminal illness is a frightening and stressful event. It challenges the faith, hope and day-to-day life of women and their families. Sometimes this suffering brings to light other aspects of their lives that need to be reconciled. And it can take a toll on the finances and emotions of the entire family.
According to the American Cancer Society there were nearly 1,700,000 breast cancer cases among women worldwide in 2012. This is the most common type of cancer among women in the world. It is a cancer that affects more than the woman, but the family as well. My mother did not die specifically of breast cancer. But it helps me to step into the shoes of other family members whose loved ones suffer from a terminal illness.
In light of October being International breast cancer awareness month, Magdalena Institute launched the Pink Prayer Initiative. Visitors coming to Magdala are honoring and remembering those fighting terminal illnesses, such as breast cancer. Using the Cancer Institute’s statistics, we anticipate that of its 1500 visitors scheduled to visit in October, at least 39,6% of them, 500 people, may have fought cancer.
Victims and supporters will be writing the family names on a board at the women´s atrium in Duc In Altum. The women´s atrium is shaped by 8 tall elegant marble columns. The names of women in the Bible are written on these columns. The 8th one stands empty – dedicated to all women. During the breast cancer awareness month, the pillar will represent the strength, love and beauty of those suffering and remember those lives lost due to cancer. Non-visitors also can join by sending names to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Magdala, hometown of Mary Magdalene, is an appropriate place to reflect on the dignity of women and the need for solidarity with those who suffer and long for healing. Staff members and volunteers at Magdala will pray daily for families currently struggling with terminal illnesses. A special moment of prayer will also be held every Friday at 15:00 hrs GTM +3 during October. The initiative will share testimonies, information and experiences through social media using #PinkPrayer.
We want women and their families to know that they are not alone.
Magdalena Institute is a developing international center dedicated to the promotion of the dignity of the human person, with a special emphasis on the dignity of women. It will offer seminars, retreats and presentations aimed at educating and inspiring persons to appreciate, respect and value their dignity. Magdalena Institute’s mission also includes being a support for people seeking spiritual and psychological healing and renewal. Finally, the Institute aims to participate in and promulgate academic research and dialogue on themes of women’s dignity.