▪ The closing of the Year of Consecrated Life in Rome was a great event. Thousands of Religious gathered from January 28th - 2nd February for the World Meeting of Consecrated Persons, which offered rich programs of spiritual events in a congenial sharing. At the closing Mass on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, Holy Father Francis called on all consecrated men and women to make courageous and prophetic choices, to not be afraid of getting their hands dirty, nor of walking to the geographical and existential peripheries of mankind today. We were privileged to take part in this solemn Eucharist.
▪ The relics of two great saints, St. Leopold Mandic and St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, renowned for their holiness and for their dedication to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, arrived in Rome this month, as one of the celebrations during the Jubilee of Mercy. In the evening some of our Sisters took part in the procession from the church of San Salvatore in Lauro to St Peter's Basilica. ▪ During the Holy Mass on Ash Wednesday Pope Francis commissioned 1071 Priests Missionaries of Mercy to be “living signs of the Father’s welcome to all those in search of His forgiveness.” They will be preaching about mercy and hearing confessions in dioceses around the world during the Jubilee of Mercy. They were given special faculties to absolve even from sins in cases where the absolution is ordinarily reserved to the Holy See.
▪ On Sunday 21st Pope Francis offered the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square the gift of a small packet, designed as a medicine box, containing a small Rosary and an image of the Merciful Jesus. The Pope said “Lent is a good time to complete a journey of conversion that has mercy at its center.” He then invited the faithful to “welcome this gift as a spiritual aid in order to spread love, forgiveness, and brotherhood.” Our Sisters distributed these gifts together with other volunteers, including homeless people and refugees.
▪ The members of the Trustees of the Province spent a week in Tanzania helping the Sisters evaluate their finances and plan for the future. ▪ The Sisters, who are preparing for Final Profession participated in a Seminar on Spiritual Direction and Formation of Conscience in Arusha.
▪ The Sisters in the Novitiate House were happy to welcome Sr. Dolores Deko and her two friends from Poland. With great care and diligence, Sr. Dolores had supervised the building of the Novitiate from 2001 to 2002.
▪ A Mass of Thanksgiving was held for the 9th Anniversary of the Opening of the Rehabilitation Center in Siuyu. Here the Pallottine Priests, Sisters and lay members of the Union work together in caring presently for 47 children.
▪ At the invitation of the new Parish priest, Fr. Patrick Myuku, eight Sisters went to the rural parish of Misughaa, Singida to speak about vocations and to share with the parishioners the Infinite Love and Mercy of the Father. ▪ In the parish in Siuyu a lady from the Singida Diocese spoke with great earnest about Human Trafficking. She urged the youth to try to find work at home and not to be deceived by those, who offer money and work in the big cities or in Europe.
▪ Fr. Louis Sisti, a beloved Tanzanian Pallottine priest, was buried on the 27th in the graveyard of the Pallottine Fathers and Brothers in Gallapo, Diocese of Mbulu. He died in Ireland, where he had been for eleven years for health care. The Sisters from Poli Singisi went to Kilimanjaro Airport to receive his body and to accompany the cortege to Gallapo Parish. Bishop Amani and 53 priests concelebrated the Holy Mass with a huge crowd of laity and religious. The Priests were very grateful for the support of our Sisters.
▪ Pallotti High School received the best results it ever had from the National Form Four Examinations. In the category of schools with over forty candidates, Pallotti School came 2nd out of 93 schools in the Singida Region and 61st out of 3,452 schools nationally. We congratulate the teachers, Sisters and Laity, and students for their hard work!
▪ St. Joseph’s Hospital observed World Day of the Sick, on February 11th with a prayer service for the employees. Sr. Francesca Lowis anointed their hands and told each individual, “Go forth in the name of Jesus,” as a sign of their renewed commitment to serve the sick. The Masses at the small Hospital Chapel are well attended during Lent. The participants form a small community, and are even having breakfast together in the Hospital Cafeteria after Mass.
▪ The Sisters in St. Mary’s wish to share their joy about their Health Center receiving the approvals to build a $9 million Hybrid Operating Room with highly developed technical equipment. It will be a valuable addition to the 13 surgery units already in use. ▪ St. Mary’s Health Center is a local sponsor of the American Heart Association “Go Red.” Srs. Diane Bushee, Mary Grace Barile and Mary Terence Wall attended a large gathering of women at the annual program, with an excellent talk on Heart Disease and Women, a fashion show and a communal meal.
▪ The Sisters in Laurel, MD have warmly welcomed two Pallottine Sisters from Poland-Srs. Margaret Lech and Hannah Gnatkowska. Besides being helpful in the convent and in the parish ministry to the sick, they are improving their English language. In turn, the Laurel Sisters share their history and culture. The new Sisters are involved in the parish Lenten practices, the “Discovering Christ” program, the Rice Bowl for the Poor, Stations of the Cross, and Friday Fish Fry.
▪ Our Sisters at Punta Gorda initiated a Stewardship Program for the local community surrounding Nazareth. The Dion Family, who are missionaries from Canada and good friends of the Sisters, stayed with them for 6 weeks and planned and executed the program along with the Pallottine community.
▪ The Parishioners of Orange Walk gathered almost non-stop in front of the Blessed Mother’s Grotto that had been set on fire and destroyed by a disturbed person. The Sisters joined the brigade of buckets of water until the Fire Fighters arrived. The Sisters and community often joined there for prayers of reparation.
▪ Most of the Sisters at Pallotti made an effort to board the van taking them to a 3-day mission at St. Joseph church, where a Bishop from New Orleans celebrated the Holy Mass and preached on the theme of the Year of Mercy. ▪ At Nazareth, a young lady, who is discerning religious life, has joined the other three girls living with the Sisters.
▪ The Archdiocese of Cape town ended the Year of Consecrated Life with an assembly of religious, priests and laity in Lansdowne. Archbishop Stephen Brislin concelebrated with more than 30 priests, and members of many religious congregations participated in the liturgy and gave a testimony of their collaboration. The Consecrated persons renewed their commitment to God. The subsequent reception in the parish hall was organised by the Knights of Vasco da Gama.
▪ The Sisters were very happy to have Sr. Izabela Świerad and Sr. Patrice Wales from Rome in their midst, to share their vision and mission. They met with Mrs. Thea Patterson, Director of St. Joseph’s Home, who showed them the newly renovated Home. They were impressed by the quality of the service rendered to the chronically ill children. The visitors, together with Provincial Superior Sr. Annemarie Niehsen and Sr. Boscona Schämann, visited historical places and walked in the foot prints of our pioneer Sisters, who toiled and worked hard for our South African Province. They went to Oudtshoorn and also spent some time in George, visiting the churches, the former Home for children, and also visited the Pallottine Fathers.
▪ For the last several weeks, the Sisters in Switzerland have been keeping employed a lady from Sri Lanka, whose husband had to flee from his country. After many troubles, she too was permitted to enter Switzerland. The couple is grateful for their contact with the Sisters and for the possibility to have some work. We see it as a small contribution to alleviate the suffering of so many refugees.
▪ The oldest Pallottine Missionary Sister in Switzerland, as well as in our entire Congregation, Sr. M. Bernhilde Roos, was called home to God at the age of 103 years in the early evening of February 23rd. She peacefully passed away in her familiar environment of the convent. When Pallottine Fr. Gregory, came to anoint her with the sacrament of the sick, she thanked him with the words: “You are a treasure!” Thus was Sr. Bernhilde to our Sisters, who will keep her in grateful remembrance. We thank Sr. Daniela Schumacher and Sr. Adelhilde Rumpf for the many years of accompaniment with our beloved Sr. Bernhilde.
▪ On the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord, all of our Sisters renewed their vows in their Parishes in spiritual union with other consecrated persons.
▪ More than 1500 consecrated people participated in a Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Kibeho on February 6th, to celebrate the closing of the Year of Consecrated Life. The event was organized by the Association of Major Superiors. The program initiated with a conference on the Message of Our Lady of Kibeho to the Religious by Fr. Edouard Sinayobye, and continued with the Holy Eucharist presided over by Mgr. Luciano Russo, Apostolic Nuncio of Rwanda, along with other Bishops and many Priests. ▪ Srs. Liberata Niyongira and Cecile Bimenyimana participated as observers in the Provincial Assembly of the Holy Family Province of the Pallottine Fathers, at the Saint Vincent Pallotti Center of Gikondo, Kigali. ▪ On the World Day of the Sick, the children from St. Vincent Pallotti Primary School, together with their teachers and Sisters visited patients in the Hospital of Masaka. After a Holy Mass they performed songs and dances to encourage the patients and raise their hope for recovery. ▪ On the 15th of February the ordinary meeting of the committee of Major Superiors was held in the convent of our Community Masaka.
The UAC National Coordination Council decided in their meeting at Prabodhana, Mysore to display in all the communities the quote of St. Vincent Pallotti: “If God is in some way visible in creatures, it is in the works of mercy.” This should be used for daily reflection in the Year of Mercy. ▪ Sr. Sahaya Ambrose conducted a Natural Camp event with her students in St. Michael’s School, showing in a skit and with charts how to protect Mother Earth.
▪ Sr. Sharmila Pinto participated in a 2-day Medical Camp in Kanakapuram Village, conducted by the Chris Hospital Management. Around 150 heart patients benefited from this camp.
▪ Six Junior Sisters began a 40-day retreat at Cenacle Ashram, Bilaspur on February 21st, as preparation for their Final Profession. This retreat is conducted by Fr. Tomy Churathil, SAC, Founder together with Mother Chandrika, CSSH of the Society of the Cenacle Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Their main apostolate is to conduct retreats of 40 days based on Cenacle Spirituality.
We Remember our Deceased Sisters
Sr. M. Bernhilde Roos *13.06.1913 † 23.02. 2016 Switzerland