A Meeting like No Other
From Wednesday evening, April 17, until Tuesday morning, April 23, 2013, the CLT (Congregational Leadership Team) of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM) hosted their annual meeting with the provincial leadership teams from Lesotho, Manitoba, the Mission Sector, Quebec, and U.S.–Ontario.
However, this meeting was like no other previous meeting!
The most visible difference was in the venue. The meetings took place in Lesotho!
All the participants were first welcomed into the various convents: ‘Mabathoana, Mazenod, St. Bernadette and St. Ambrose. From there a bus drove everyone to Mmelesi Lodge, the site of many conferences but also a vacation spot in Lesotho. Accommodation there is generally provided in individual huts (“rondavel”).
The topics discussed focused on follow-up to the 2011 General Chapter: communications, culture of call, congregational retreat, leadership skills, youth forum, structures, finance committee, etc.
Thankfully the work was interspersed with times of prayer and of relaxation.
On Saturday evening, April 20, a cultural evening was celebrated. It was an experience that would be impossible to duplicate. Sr. Francisca Khooa, a young SNJM Basotho sister, ably emceed the event, also singing, dancing, and acting herself. Sr. Aloysia Makoae, who teaches at the Normal School, brought a group of her students to sing and dance.
A group of elementary school boys from St. Rose School in Peka amazed everyone with their energetic and skillful traditional dancing. Just as amazing were the Basotho Sisters dancing and singing.
The evening concluded with all SNJM sisters and associates singing Mother Marie-Rose’s favorite hymn, Je mets ma confiance. What a wonderful experience of interdependence and of unity!
At Home in Lesotho
Though the participants live many miles away from each other, there was a sense that all share the same values. For those new to Lesotho, returning for the last few days to the residences which had first welcomed them felt like a returning home!
The hospitality of SNJM Basotho Sisters is truly exceptional. Where else would a whole community wait to eat supper until their guests arrived three hours late?
The 2011 General Chapter Acts state that:
“In a spirit of interdependence,
the CLT will, as much as possible, . . .
locate meetings in various SNJM geographical settings”.
Those who participated in this year’s CLT-PLT meetings are most grateful for the opportunity to have experienced the beauty of Lesotho and its people who face the inevitable struggles and challenges of life with such joy, energy, and hope!