Abidjan (Ivory Coast). On 6 April 2024, in Abidjan, in an official ceremony organized at the Spanish Embassy in the Ivory Coast, Sister Maria Teresa Añaños Colon, Daughter of Mary Help of Christians, missionary ad gentes in West Africa since 1982, belonging to “Mother of God” (AFO) Province, was awarded the “Official Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic”.

The current function of the Order of Isabella the Catholic is to  “reward Spanish and foreign citizens who, with extraordinary civil behavior, benefit the nation or contribute significantly to relations of friendship and cooperation between Spain and the rest of the international community.”

In the official document, delivered to her by the Ambassador of Spain, Mr. Rafael Soriano Ortiz, reads: “In the name of Philip VI king of Spain, master of the Order of Isabella the Catholic and, in his name, the Grand Chancellor of Foreign Affairs of the European Union and of Spanish Cooperation, in recognition of the merits found in Sister Maria Theresa in the field of education and human promotion, I confer upon her honors, distinctions, and insignia corresponding to the statute of the Order.”

At the very simple ceremony, which highlighted the testimony of Sister Maria Theresa – an exemplary life at the service of children, totally dedicated to the education and promotion of young people – were present: the Minister of Women, of Family and Childhood, Mrs. Nassénéba Touré; the Mayor of the municipality of Koumassi, Mr. Narcisse Toussaint Ballet; and the Deputy, Mr. Kader Ouattara; the Apostolic Nuncio, Msgr. Mauricio Rueda Beltz; Sister Chantal Mukasé Ruzagiriza, Visiting General Councilor of the FMA Institute,  on behalf of Mother General, in canonical the visit to the AFO Province; the president of the parish pastoral council, Mr. Hermann Benon; a member representing each group of the Salesian Family; Ms. Chantal Ezan, member of the Development Office; the Novices and the FMA of the two Communities of Abidjan.

Sister Chantal Mukase took the opportunity to thank the authorities, in particular the Ambassador, for having conferred on behalf of the King of Spain, the Merit of a Daughter of Mary Help of Christians and for having presented, in his speech, the Institute and in particular the work done in Africa at the service of children and young people.

In her brief intervention, Sister Maria Theresa thanked the Lord for all that He has done in her and in the Institute. She stressed that the medal of honor she receives is in the name of the entire Institute, and invited everyone to work under the banner of fraternity, to be signs of hope for the world.

A heavy rain preceded this official ceremony, a sign of God’s blessing.  Through their songs, the Novices accompanied the assembly in thanksgiving to God for the wonders worked in each one and in the mission. The ceremony ended with a moment of fraternity offered to guests in honor of the one being honored.


  1. Queridisima!, tus Hermanas de la RD Congo te felicitamos de corazón. L’as misioneras no trabajamos por reconocimientos humanos pero cuando El Señor Los permite, todo es para SU GLORIA. Gracias por tu testimonio de amor y de entrera!. Un gran abrazo! Sr Lucia

  2. Queridísima Mª Teresa, mi más grande enhorabuena por tu entrega a los más pobres, que ellos han sabido reconocerocercon la medalla con la imposición de la Medalla de Isabel La Católica. Al fondo, nuestra bandera de España. Siéntenos cerca y acuérdate de nosotras ante María Auxiliadora. Antonia Herrero Marí.

  3. Un gracias inmenso a Dios por ti, sor Mª Teresa, por el bonito don de tu vida entregada en favor de tantisimas niñas y jovenes. Estamos unidas a ti y a todas las hermanas de la inspectoria. Os recuerdo con mucho cariño

  4. Cara Sr. Maria Teresa, con le mie congratulazioni segue mio abbraccio brasiliano pieno di “saudades”I Sr. Ivanette Duncan de Miranda

  5. Congratulazioni vivissime a suor Maria Teresa. Un grande abbraccio e la mia preghiera. Sr. Enrica ROSANNA


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