The Fourth Sunday of Lent is traditionally called Laetare Sunday. Laetare is a Latin word that means “rejoice.” Today’s Gospel describes the reason for our joy: God’s great love for us that has been revealed in Jesus. Through his Passion, Death, and Resurrection, Christ has reconciled us with God and one another.

At CMMB, we are rejoicing as we celebrate a year of service from one of our very special medical volunteers. Over a year ago, God called Dr. Rachael Consoli to make a life changing decision to move to South Sudan as a CMMB medical volunteer. His calling would send her to serve one of the most vulnerable communities in the world.

What would make a Harvard trained doctor and a Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecology Surgeon leave the comfort of Boston for one of the toughest places in Africa? The answer is love. As a volunteer, Dr. Consoli worked tirelessly to bring safe motherhood to South Sudan, and her highly trained medical care changed and saved lives. Patients would line up at the clinic door each day. Expert, emergency C-sections meant mothers and babies would live. Complicated surgeries would improve long term health for women and their children. Patients flocked to Dr. Consoli for her loving care, strong faith, and her lively sense of humor. She would make the women laugh, trying to speak their language.

After more than eight months in the field, violent conflict forced the closure of Dr. Consoli’s beloved safe motherhood practice. She, along with most CMMB staff and volunteers, were forced to abandon patients and flee to safety. Knowing these pregnant women and new mothers so well, Dr. Consoli was heartbroken.

Ever faithful to her calling, she finished her year of service in a safer location, caring for patients with AIDS, malaria and TB. It’s definitely not the work Dr. Consoli thought she would be doing as an OB/GYN, but she’s taking her Aunt Antoinette’s motto and Corinthians to heart: “Bloom where you are planted.” She recently wrote:

The patients in the “Adult Medical Ward” have never had a physician like me! God placed me here for a reason. I bring the JOY and HAPPINESS of Jesus to patients daily. Poor South Sudan. I love this place and these people.

Today’s readings remind that us that even during Lent, a time of penance, sacrifice and reflection, we may rejoice, especially in the goodness of others who are an example of His love. Please join us by praying for Dr. Consoli as she returns home and continues on her life’s journey. As a volunteer, Dr. Consoli touched the lives of so many at CMMB. She changed our world, and we believe, our world changed her.

Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
PS 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

Help support incredible volunteers, like Dr. Consoli, today!