Sr. Anne has been on her travels over the last few months. In this week’s newsletter, Sister shares her adventures with us. Please continue to pray for the Sisters of St. Joseph.
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15th June 2023 for the Sisters of St. Joseph was a historic day. In Tanzania, the very first East African young women made their First Vows with the Congregation. They are women full of courage, of fun and above all faith, love and a desire to do God’s will for them each day of their lives. I had the privilege of attending the Profession Mass along with Sisters from other parts of the world. The ceremony was held under a simply but strikingly decorated awning in the garden of the novitiate as the chapel was far too small for the congregation. While the music and singing were vibrantly African, the Sisters who have started this ‘Mission Territory’ are all from India so there was a rich mix of African and Indian traditions at the Mass.
After the celebration day, those of us who had travelled long distances were blessed to be able visit all five communities in Tanzania and Kenya. Each has its own special character, but nursing, teaching and parish work feature strongly in them all. The energy and dedication of the Sisters was striking wherever we went – as was the welcome we received with the traditional kanga being draped over our shoulders. These kanga often depict the wildlife of the area (see picture below).
What lies ahead of Sisters Gaudensia, Sylvia, Philomena and Angela? God willing, a life getting to know Jesus more deeply and following him more closely through prayer and their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. These vows free religious to be more available to serve the needs of the people they are sent to.
As for the Sisters in South Wales, it is life-giving for us to know that while our own more active days may be giving way to a quieter way of life, the Holy Spirit continues to plant the message of God’s great love for everyone in young women in other parts of the world. And who knows? Maybe a new shoot of the Sisters of St. Joseph will spring up one day in the UK. After all, it is, and always has been, God’s work, not ours.
Please remember Srs. Gaudensia, Angela, Philomena and Sylvia in your prayers as they begin their first ministry … and all people who are exploring the possibility that God is calling them to the religious life.