“I was eager to help out in a place without as many resources”
Dr. Sylvia Sesé is an internist at Monkole Hospital, an apostolic work of Opus Dei in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Samuel Gutiérrez // Catalunya Cristiana
Dr. Sesé returned to Barcelona this summer to share with family members the joy she has experienced in placing her life and profession at the service of the most needy.
What brought you to Kinshasa nine years ago?
Monkole Hospital, an apostolic work begun by members of Opus Dei, invited me to join its staff in 2001. Little by little Monkole has become a medical center that is a model for the entire country. I arrived when the hospital’s growth required more doctors, not only to care for patients, but also to teach the local students. I was asked to start a department of internal medicine.
When you decided to move to Africa, weren’t you already well established in a private hospital in the Canary Islands?
Yes, that’s true, but at the same time I was eager to help out in a place without as many resources, and I was well aware of the enormous need there is in Africa for medical care. I was also drawn by the possibility of taking up a teaching position, since I think that teaching is one of the best contributions one can make to this continent. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is still suffering from the terrible aftermaths of a civil war, especially in the areas of education and health care. The position I was offered combined these two components that are so important for the development of any country.
If it weren’t for my faith and the Christian life that I try to lead, the offer to use my profession in the service of those most in need might not have been so attractive. During these nine years, I’ve tried to live alongside the people of Kinshasa,.and I must confess that I’ve found it very enjoyable. The people here are very warm, and the environment is more favorable to human relationships, with less rushing around and competition.
After being away for so long, aren’t you a bit anxious to return to Spain?
How does a member of Opus Dei live her faith in the midst of people who are so demonstrative and expressive as the African Church?
Neighborhood near Monkole