Lesotho! Africa! What a surprise when I was told that I had been chosen by our Province Leadership Team to attend the “Young Sisters Forum” that was to be held from January 10th to the 15th 2010. In fact, I was in shock. The Forum had an age limit of 50 and younger, and since no one in Quebec fit that criterion, I was being sent as a guest.
What a trip it was! Sister Dolores Wehle, member of the General Leadership Team and I left January 4th for the 2-day journey that took us to London, to Johannesburg and finally to Maseru, Lesotho. On route, we met up with other sisters.
Upon arrival at the Maseru Airport we were warmly received! SNJM hospitality was very evident by the many Sisters who were there to meet us. We were quickly whisked away to St. Ambrose Convent and Mabothana Convents where we would be staying before and after the Forum. It felt so good to at last be on solid ground!
The agenda for the following days included a variety of fun and inspiring activities. We went to a “braii” – a Bar-B-Q at Mabothoana Convent, which is also the Provincial house. There, we met sisters from Peru and from Brazi.
We attended a beautiful Eucharistic celebration in honour of two jubilarians in Peka. Once again we re-discovered that our Basutho Sisters know how to celebrate so well in song and dance! The celebration continued with a reception that followed.
The afternoon of January 10th saw us gathering at Mmelesi Lodge for the beginning of the Forum. Several of us lived in Basutho-styled huts. In all, we were 53 participants and 4 interpreters for Spanish, Portugese and Sesotho.
Morning prayer set the tone for each day, followed by creative presentations on each of the daily themes:
We learned so much about our various cultures and the founding of each province, from our roots with Mother Marie-Rose in Quebec in 1843, all the way to Lesotho, (formerly Basutoland) in 1931.
Throughout the Forum, we had the opportunity to see the various ways in which our Sisters minister. We visited Sister Gisèle Foucrault’s home for orphaned girls, home for the elderly and homes for very poor families.
We also visited Paki Health Center, where patients with HIV/AIDS are treated and St. Angela’s Home for the physically handicapped. We had a very profound experience while visiting the Sekameneg project whereby our younger Sisters organize and distribute food and clothing to people who have HIV/AIDS in 4 villages. We actually went to some individual homes. Unfortunately we did not visit any schools because the new academic year had not yet begun.
Mother Marie-Rose’s spirit and charism
are very alive among our Sisters
who have such a passion for our mission.
I am very grateful for having had this experience.
Kea leboha haholo! Thank you very much!
Sr Pat O'Neill s.n.j.m.