We were delighted to host our Major Superiors, who came to Rome this month for the biennial Central Assembly. Rwanda/DR Congo and Switzerland were represented by delegates Srs. Marta Litawa and Maria Dörig. General Secretary Fr. Markus Reck, SAC presided over the opening Eucharistic celebration. Altogether, with our moderator Sr. Patrice Wales, who guided us through the week-long program and with translator, Sr. Adelheid Scheloske, we were 17 Sisters. We were fortunate to also have Rev. Fr. Sean Cannon, C.S.S.R, Moral Theologian and Canon Lawyer, who spoke to us and answered questions on canonical issues in our Congregation. We shared our struggles as well as the joys in each of our diverse entities. Spiritual renewal and the future of formation were some of the main themes. Our Superior General Sr. Izabela Świerad underlined in her opening address the need of a more intense collaboration within our congregation. Participation in the Holy Mass with Pope Francis on the feast of the Presentation, and the collective renewal of our vows marked the beginning and the ending of the sessions. The Assembly closed in the Generalate Chapel with a missioning ceremony by Sr. Izabela and the presentation of the new edition of our Constitutions, OWL.
▪ In preparation for a year of voluntary mission service, a group of young people gathered for their second meeting in Marienborn, Limburg. Martha, who will start her experience in Sicily in a few weeks, was missioned by Provincial Superior, Sr. Helga Weidemann during the Sunday Mass on the16th. Sister blessed the young woman and entrusted her with the mission cross, which unites her especially with the Pallottine Sisters. Martha will work in an institution for youth with the “Roman” Pallottine Sisters. The others will leave in autumn for the diverse countries of their mission.
▪ Uf Wiederluege... Grüezi mitenand! (Swiss greeting) was the heading on the invitation for the fare well gathering on the 28th for Sr. Sophie Schuler. The Sisters in Marienborn and other companions of Sr. Sophie attended the evening prayer and then a cosy get-together. During her past 50 years, Sr. Sophie had served with her talents in the German Province and had always lived in Marienborn. However, still after all these years the longing for her Swiss mountains continued. She asked for permission to return to the Swiss Delegature, from where she had come. On the day after the farewell Provincial Sr. Helga Weidemann drove Sr. Sophie to Switzerland where she will now belong to the community in Niederuzwil.
▪ A fire broke out on the roof of St. Joseph’s Hospital, but thanks to the quick actions of the staff and fire department, the fire was contained to a small area and quickly extinguished. After much paper work and several months of waiting, the hospital has received the license to operate a 10 bed Skilled Nursing Facility. ▪ World Day of the Sick was observed with get-well cards on the food trays, gifts of prayer cards, and a Prayer Service for staff that included the Blessing of Hands as a sign of re-commissioning service to the sick. The Anointing of the Sick was also celebrated at the parish weekend Masses. At St. Mary’s Medical Center the Chaplains visited each department and blessed the hands of staff, physicians, and volunteers. At St. Joseph’s Hospital a Memorial Service was held in remembrance of patients who died at the Hospital, Home Health or Hospice during the previous four months. ▪ Srs. Diane Bushee, Mary Grace Barile and Mary Terence Wall, joined 216 women at the yearly Go Red for Women Luncheon at St. Mary’s Center for Education. This event addresses the issue of women and heart disease. Sr. Mary Grace gave the Invocation. Dr. Daniel Snavely, one of St. Mary’s Interventional Cardiologists and Dr. Gary Patton, PhD, manager of St. Mary’s Mental Health Counseling were the speakers. ▪ The A.D. Lewis Community Center in Huntington had a project called Sweater Sweep, Wrapping our Arms around Another. The Sisters contributed, and were able to deliver a box full of their sweaters. In spite of the record number of snow falls and below average temperatures in the United States this winter season, the Sisters have been grateful for the safety and good health they have enjoyed.
▪ The Sisters were honored to have Rector General, Fr. Jacob Nampudakam, SAC visit them on this his first ever visit to Belize. He celebrated Mass at Pallotti High School, met with Bishop Dorick Wright, then visited Fr. Lukasz, SAC in Punta Gorda, where he carries out his missionary work together with the Sisters, and also had the opportunity to see some Mayan villages. ▪ The community at Nazareth joyfully celebrated Sr. Katharina Müller’s 85th birthday with a beautiful liturgy presided by Fr. Lukasz, who gave her a special blessing. ▪ Five young ladies attended another “Vocation Awareness Day” at Our Lady of Good Counsel Convent in Corozal. Sr. Gabrielle Johnson introduced the new topic – HOPE - starting with the hope of one’s baptism. The girls were very attentive and enjoyed the day. ▪ The Orange Walk Centennial Committee hosted a Married Couple Day with the theme The Family. Fifteen couples responded to the invitation. The guest speakers Mr & Mrs Stanley Ermoff, enlightened the group on the biblical concept of marriage. Fr. Larry Nicassio celebrated the Mass, and Sr. Margaret Gongora gave a well-deserved vote of thanks to all. The National Catholic Teachers´ Convention was held in Punta Gorda with about 1,600 teachers. Keynote speaker, David Ruiz addressed the role of teachers as living witnesses, by being Christ´s voice in today’s school. The Pallottine Retreat Center at Nazareth was filled to capacity as were hotels and guest houses. Sr. Stephen Franco gave a workshop on morality for the upper grades of primary schools.
▪ After the Central Assembly Sr. Boscona Schämann went to Germany for her holiday. Sr. Charlotte Pfefferle had a visit from her relatives from Germany. ▪ Srs. Prescilla Rego and Elizabeth Hartnick participated in the annual General Body Meeting for Consecrated Religious. Sr. Prescilla has been elected as one of the executive members. ▪ During one night St. Joseph’s Home and Convent the Internet and Telephone cables were stolen. Luckily after two weeks both systems were working again. ▪ St. Joseph’s Special School had their Sports Day and Srs. Margaret Mcfarlane, Theresia Gurti and Sharmila Pinto joined the parents and well-wishers to cheer for the children. It was wonderful to witness how the less fortunate children can compete and make their parents and teachers proud.
▪ Five students came to Gniezno for a 3-day retreat guided by Sr. Agata Hulak and Fr. Świderski, SAC. In a creative way to discover what makes it difficult for them to meet Jesus, the young girls acted out the role of the persons in the Bible passage about Zacheus. Novice Sr. Paulina and postulants Justyna and Kinga shared how they experience their life in the convent, and Fr. Wojciech’s conferences along with conversation with Postulancy Directress, Sr. Danuta Przybyłek helped them to enter into a personal encounter with God. A walk to town and hot chocolate ended the program with the symbolic “getting down the tree” and receiving Jesus in the home of one’s heart.
▪ Twenty Pallottine priests and sisters responsible for Initial Formation held a 3-day session in Konstancin at which Sr. Monika Cecot from St. Vincent Pallotti Institute gave suggestions on how to read the Founder’s writings. Opportunities for exchange of opinions took place in group work, where samples of the Founder’s texts about formation were assigned to the groups. ▪ The provincial house hosted a formation meeting of the junior sisters, who are preparing for their final vows in July. Discussions focused on religious poverty and community life. The Junior Sisters also composed a poem for Sr. Bernadetta’s feastday, which was illustrated by some scenes played by the Sisters. The performance put all in a good mood.
▪ On the Feast of the Presentation, many Sisters went in pilgrimage to the Sanctuary Our Lady of Kibeho, together with other religious and priests from all over Rwanda. The Holy Eucharist was celebrated by Mgr. Seleverien Nzakamwita, the Bishop of Byumba, who encouraged all to be more faithful to their vocation and witness Christ in this changing world.
▪ Seventeen Sisters gathered in Kibeho for the 2nd Regional Chapter. They were very happy to have among them two General Councilors, Srs. Stella Holisz and Josephina D’Souza, as well as Sr. Bernadetta Turecka, Provincial Superior of the Polish Province. The theme of the Chapter was: In fidelity to Christ, let us revive faith and rekindle charity among us and among others. The newly elected members of the Council are: Regional Superior, Sr. Liberata Niyongira; Vicar, Sr. Marta Litawa: Councilors: Srs. Marie Cécile Bimenyimana; Marie Goretti Nyabyenda; and Marie Claire Mukeshimana. The Sisters of the Region of Rwanda and DR Congo are very grateful for the spiritual support and encouraging messages, which were sent by the other entities.
▪ After her return from Rome, Sr. Inacinha Fernades, went to Orissa and Raipur for her Visitation. The Sisters at St. Vincent Krupa Convent, Bangalore renewed their Vows during the Holy Mass on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord – the day dedicated to Consecrated Life. The Sisters and Postulants participated in the golden jubilee celebration of Religious in India at the Sanyasa Sangamam at Mount Carmel College Auditorium. Over a thousand religious participated in this event and were invited to live the consecrated life as persons called by God climbing the mountain rather than staying in the valley.