RAMON ZUBIETA AND HIS PUZZLE
I respond to the invitation to write my experience with you, Ramón Zubieta. And when I went to insert in the writing some quote about you, I met you.
Yes, of course I have known you for more than 50 years. Better said, now I see that I only had an idea about you.
You know, your life, or rather you in Peru, is like the frame of a painting in which you have to put many pieces until each and every one of them is harmoniously placed.
On entering the Apostolic Prefecture of Santo Domingo de Urubamba and Madre de Dios, later the Vicariate of Maldonado, you visualize the immense territory with so many colors, its native population, the mercantile invasion, the social “relations”, the distances, the possibilities of human and Christian promotion of the people, teams in action, communications, budgets… And you set up your strategy. But you have neither people, nor materials, not even a sol in your pockets…!
So, you plunge into anything, even if it costs you your life. And you will knock on every door and every heart, and you will use every resource. You will get what you want. The suffering and depression that you often suffer – sometimes we forget that people who have been tortured like you, relive the experience – will plague you mercilessly. But they will also be an incentive to move forward with the project.
In a few years, the work is not finished. Nor did you intend it to be. But you have been putting the fundamental pieces in place. There are the mission stations of your Dominican brothers, people visited and embraced by you along the rivers, the foundation – together with Ascension Nicol – of the Dominican Missionary Sisters dedicated to the promotion of women from their childhood, chapels and schools, roads, houses, farm implements and building materials.…
Correspondence deserves a separate mention. I can’t imagine your luggage without a notebook, an inkpot and a pen. All with that passion of yours, with all your soul, with your great heart, with that search for what God wanted.
Everything I’m saying about you makes it sound like you were a Superman. But you were not alone. Ascension Nicol accompanied your projects, your sorrows and your joys, your anguish and loneliness, your economic hardships and your hunger, your love for the disadvantaged, your tireless walk… Close by or at a distance, by the rivers or in the mountains, in Maldonado or in Lima, in Peru or in Spain, in prayer and with the people, in life and in death.
When I think of the love that you had for her – also for the other missionaries – or rather, that you had for each other, expressed in a thousand ways, I understand better the blossoming of the work undertaken. You were love, support, trust, faithfulness, encouragement, loyalty, hope, tears, consolation… in equal parts for each other. As far as the Congregation of the Dominican Missionary Sisters of the Rosary is concerned, it is impossible to think of it without the collaboration of both of you.
You who had the flu of 18 (1918=estimated number of deaths was at least 50 million and about 500 million people or one third of the world population infected with this virus); you who never get tired because you left your body among us; you who continue to be for the Dominican Missionary Sisters of the Rosary – together with Ascension Nicol – lighthouse and guide, impulse and Charism, accompany us to the peripheries. That is the beginning of a puzzle, you know!
María Pura González, MDR