Report on the meeting of Sisters of Temporary Profession from Africa and the Isles
Entebbe, Uganda - September 1-8, 2008
“We were happy to be gathered together and God gave us the gift of his friendship. From distant places we assembled, happy to be together”.
First of all we would like to express our gratitude to God, who is the source of our calling, and who gathered us together to form us into one Body. We offer our thanks also to our Congregation and to those responsible for organising this meeting so generously. Srs. Immaculate Nakato, Dolores Diez de Revenga and Mary Henihan facilitated our meeting. Srs. Annette Namugambe, Albertine Razanabo and Dorothy Nabada were also with us.
We were 30 young sisters from different stages of formation, three of whom had just pronounced their Vows.
The Malgache sisters arrived August 31 at 22.00 hrs after a 16 hour bus journey from Nairobi. What exclamations of joy when we met together! The following day, September 1
, we had time to meet informally and to become acquainted with the house, the retreat centre and the environment. At 18.00 hrs we gathered for an official welcome from Sr. Annette, accompanied by songs and drums. Sr. Mary explained some practical arrangements. Each one got a name tag to signify that she was a participant in the meeting. A magnificent festive meal of welcome was prepared in the garden, Ugandan style.
We had music and dancing to entertain us.September 2
: The opening celebration was prepared by the sisters from the Region of Uganda/Kenya. For the entrance procession each one carried a lighted candle and placed it in a prepared place to symbolize our unity. Sr. Immaculate spoke to us about the origin of this meeting and the collaboration we all had in its preparation. Then Sr. Mary spoke on The orientation of the Congregation for Formation according to the Constitutions.
After some exchanges we began to share our own life experiences.
Sr. Dolores presented The Plan of Formation and explained the objective of each stage.
For the different themes which we considered we followed a process of personal reflection, group work and plenary sharing which helped us to deepen these themes which had been studied by all.September 3
: Sr. Mary presented the theme of Leadership and Membership in relation to the documents of the General Chapter. We ended the day with an evening of recreation. Each group of co-novices, as well as councillors, formation personnel, and the regional superiors presented their party pieces with great creativity. We were happy to welcome Sr. Denise Souci among us on her way from the Congo to Mauritius via Nairobi.September 4
: During the morning we continued to share the fruit of the group work in plenary session. Sr. Mary presented a brief history of the Martyrs of Uganda and in the afternoon we visited Namugongo, the place where they witnessed to their faith by being burnt at the stake. We prayed in the beautiful basilica which is a place of pilgrimage not only for Ugandans but for other African countries also.September 5
: Sr. Dolores presented the theme of The role of the Formation Community-the manner of doing evaluations-the importance of accompaniment. Many points were clarified for us about the evaluations and how to do them in community. After some exchanges we went off in twos to share on what had touched us up until now in the meetings, especially the challenges and desires we were feeling. We lived this experience in an atmosphere of joy and thanksgiving.September 6
: Sr. Mary presented the theme of Reparation-Mission-Evangelisation linking this with the Documents of the General Chapter:
SMR Identity and expressions of the Charism, and SMR Priorities for our broken world.September 7
: We went to the 09.00 hrs Sunday Mass in the Parish. The celebrant invited Srs. Jane Nakayima and Mary to introduce the young sisters to the parish congregation. On other days we had Mass at 07.00 hrs in our own Chapel, celebrated by a Ugandan priest who spoke French very well. We were able to sing in Luganda, French, Malgache, and English.
Sr. Dolores presented the theme of Formation to responsible Economy- Plan of Formation n50-54. At midday we welcomed Sr. Marie Françoise Rasoandrasana, Regional of Madagascar, who spent two days with us, en route to the Congo.
In the evening we had recreation with items from the traditions of our respective countries.September 8
: We began with a beautiful Mass of thanksgiving to celebrate Our Lady’s feast. We had Malgache and Ugandan songs and dances. We included Sr. Mary’s feast in the festivities, as also the departure of Sr. Dolores.
We had exchanges on the Postulate from Colombia-Panama-Peru which had been presented to the General Chapter. We sent our response and suggestions to the General Council and to the young sisters of Latin America.
We met according to our respective countries to draw up a project with concrete points for putting into practice what we had underlined during our sessions. This will be a working paper for dialogue and exchange with our formation personnel and with the sisters in our communities.
In the afternoon we evaluated our meetings, followed by a closing ceremony prepared by our Malgache sisters. Our hearts were full of gratitude for all we had lived during these days in Uganda.September 9
: Sr. Dolores left us for Rome and Sr. M .Françoise for the Congo. The sisters visited the community of Bisanje.
In the evening the directed retreat started for the sisters of Uganda/Kenya, accompanied by Srs. Mary and Dorothy.September 10
: It was departure day for the Malgache sisters, to Madagascar via Nairobi. We were all still “happy to have gathered together” and we look forward in hope to further meetings.
Poem of thanks
Eight days unfolded beautifully
with well prepared themes.
They were a contributing factor to our growth
throughout the whole of our lives, to strengthen our “YES”.
I cannot find the words to express everything.
How we were lavished with graces!
However a word of courtesy impels us to say
‘Thank you’ when we receive something.
Thank You to the three of you.
Sr. Mary, Dolores and Immaculate, we are grateful.
Thank you for facilitating this session
with your questions, affirmations and various clarifications.
Your manner of doing so with flexibility urges us to say:
Yes, thank you very much for your tender concern.
Thank you to our regionals of Uganda/Kenya/Madagascar/Mauritius.
May God bless you and all your undertakings
with an abundance of his grace,
so as to live Reparation with Mary.
To the regional bursars,
thank you for services rendered and for your patience.
May God guard you with his Providence.
Also, thank you to the formation personnel here present.
You have an important role in the congregation.
Thank you to the community here who welcomed us.
We have felt the family spirit.
And to all the junior professed, thank you for your sharing.
Now we can sort out and restore our baggage.
As a token of gratitude,
We offer a little present for each one.
Lastly, for different reasons we will soon be separated,
but we shall remain united in Love and through the Eucharist.
Let us go into the world, let us share the flame of fire
which Jesus, the Son of God, brought.
Courage and Hope was what our Foundress said.
Oh, is it not good to be a Reparatrix/Reparatrice!
Hortense smr. Entebbe
September 8, 2008