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Interview with sr Lucia Bartolomasi

Interview with sr Lucia Bartolomasi


Today marks the end of the 43rd apostolic journey of His Holiness Francis (31 August - 4 September).


On the occasion of the first trip of a Pope to Mongolia, the UISG interviewed Sr. Lucia Bortolomasi, Superior General of the Consolata Missionary Sisters who spent many of her missionary years in Mongolia.

Can you tell us about your missionary experience in Mongolia? 
In July 2003, over twenty years ago, a group of 2 men and 3 women Missionaries of the Consolata arrived in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia’s capital city. I had the grace, the immense gift of God of being part of this group. In my dreams, the mission meant leaving and living where the Church was not present at all or only recently, where Jesus Christ was not yet known. 

In Mongolia, the presence of the Catholic Church was (and still is) limited; it is a young Church: the first missionaries arrived from the Philippines only 10 years earlier.
Bishop Padilla, the Apostolic Prefect of Ulaan Baatar, one of the first missionaries in the country, welcomed us.

At the beginning, everything was new and very different from the world I belonged to. It took us three years to take the first steps, after having studied the language and got accustomed to the reality. 

Our presence in Mongolia has always been characterised by joint discernment and prayer with the Consolata Missionaries: our two Institutes’ mandate was to be a presence ad gentes, that is, to start proclaiming the Gospel, be open to dialogue with the main religions (in our case Buddhism) and bring consolation. In our discernment, we identified guidelines for our presence, which still illuminate our path. Among others, the importance of prayer, since it is God’s Mission, it is He who touches hearts.



In my grace-blessed experience there, I witnessed how people are drawn to the Lord, and how the encounter with Christ transforms their lives: it gives a meaning, a direction, and deep joy.

Meeting people taught me a lot, their great human and spiritual sensitivity, their courage, never giving up, I learnt what is essential in life. I would like to sum up my experience with a Mongolian proverb 'clouds pass, the sky remains', everything is transient while what is important, makes life meaningful stays in the heart, forever.

What is important about this Apostolic journey of the Pope in Mongolia?
It is undoubtedly, a great gift for the tiny Church in Mongolia. 

On the one hand, it is a sign: to feel loved, visited and accompanied by the Supreme Pontiff, despite the reduced size and limitations. The very same gift of granting the title of Cardinal to Bishop Giorgio Marengo came as a great surprise and a deep joy. Pope Francis has always shown interest and affection for the realities of a small and humble Church, underlining this smallness as a way forward for all Christians, as he often reiterated on several occasions. Among others, the General Audience of 7 June 2023, where the two Consolata Missionary Institutes were present: in speaking of Saint Therese of Lisieux, He underlined littleness as a path blessed by God. 

On the other hand, the Holy Father is a Head of State: there will be official meetings with the local authorities, which will certainly help to deepen the already positive relationship between the Mongolian government and the small Catholic Church.

In your opinion, what are the implications of the Synod on Synodality for the Church in Mongolia and in the world?

The Synod on Synodality is the outcome of a years-long journey, in which every Christian (or not) has been able to express his or her dreams, anxieties and difficulties: we arrive at the Synod with a very rich experience. We count on the Lord's promise: "Where two or three are gathered in my name, I will be with them". The Lord will be there, and if we are open (all, not just the Synod’s appointed members) He will guide us. I have hope that it will be a time of renewal for the entire Church, and certainly also for the small Church in Mongolia, which is still at the beginning of its history (it will be 30 years old in 2022).


UISG Communication Office


pierrette beauregard

Ce commentaire de Sr Lucia Bartolomasi est fort intéressant! Elle nous met "en état synodal" et souligne l'importance de la prière, de l'humilité pour laisser Dieu réaliser ce qu'Il veut bien réaliser dans chacune de nos vies et dans celle de l'Église. Merci!

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