▪ On the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, the 25th World Day for Consecrated Life was celebrated in the Church. Here in Rome, Pope Francis presided over the Eucharistic Celebration in St. Peter’s Basilica, void of the signs and joyful faces that illuminated it in previous years, yet nonetheless expressing the fruitful gratitude that characterizes the life of the religious. In his homily, the Pope invited all men and women religious to be patient and courageous in order to keep advancing, exploring new paths, and responding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
▪ On the 16th, at the Church of San Salvatore in Onda, the Pallottine family celebrated the memory of Blessed Elisabeth Sanna. This year, unlike other years, the participation was minimum because of the covid effect. Fr. Romuald Uzabumwana SAC, General Councillor was the main celebrant, who highlighted in his homily, Blessed Elizabeth Sanna as our model of prayer and perseverance in suffering. ▪ Likewise on the 24th February, we have also remembered Blessed Fr. Richard Henkes, SAC. Fr Martin Manus SAC, General Councilor in his homily presented Fr. Henkes as our intercessor in this time of the pandemic, having offered his life voluntarily, taking care of typhoid patients in the concentration camp in Dachau, Germany, and dying as a martyr for charity.
▪ Pallotti Institute has planned a series of conferences on-line with different themes beginning from February. On February 25th, was the first conference “The universality of the Pallottine apostolate in the encyclical Fratelli Tutti " facilitated by Mons. Julio Endi Akamine SAC, Archbishop from Brazil.
▪ Procura and the Generalate community had a day of recollection with reflection session given by Fr. Jan Kupka SAC on “suffering with Christ” according to St. Vincent Pallotti.
▪ In view of preparing for the upcoming General Chapter, an on-line meeting between the General Government and the Provincial / Regional Leadership teams was planned for the entire Congregation. During this month we held zoom meetings with five Provinces and one Region. The Provincial /Regional Superiors presented the current situation of the entities with its joys and challenges. The commitment of all the Sisters in different apostolate is truly impressive. Although there are many challenges, it is characterized by hope and courage looking to the future of the Congregation.
▪ On the 2nd, the residents in House Felizitas in Limburg were vaccinated for the second time. We are glad that with this it is possible now for our Sisters from Camaldoli, the neighbouring house, to visit their fellow Sisters, even though the strict regulations for homes for the elderly must continue to be observed. After prior registration, the visitor entering the home must first be tested negatively for the Corona infection, and then they can visit the room of the residents. Meetings with several Sisters or a group are still not possible inside the house.
▪ The religious in the Singida Diocese celebrated the Day for Consecrated Life on February 6th. The Vicar General, Fr. Francis Lyimu, was the chief celebrant at the Holy Mass, with eight priests. Due to COVID-19, fewer Sisters and priests participated. In the homily, Fr Francis spoke of vocation as a precious gift from God and in living the evangelical counsels; the religious should balance their prayer and apostolic life. The Mass was followed by a short meal and entertainment provided by different Congregations. ▪ On the10th, the Siuyu community had a joyful event: one of the aspirants received her First Holy Communion and Confirmation. Fr. Gonzaga, SAC, who celebrated the Holy Mass, encouraged her to be a true witness of Christ in her faith journey. After that, there was a short celebration.
▪ This year all the communities celebrated the feast of Bl. Elisabetta Sanna on the 16th of February. As bl. Elisabetta is the patroness of Magogo English Medium Primary School, the celebration there was special: during the Holy Mass new-born babies were blessed and one teacher and a boy from class-3 received the Sacrament of Baptism. After the Mass, the school and parish communities enjoyed games and sports prepared by the teachers and other workers.
▪ An intensive 3-month program for the newly professed Sisters at the International Noviciate in Arusha, was concluded on the 23rd with a zoom meeting guided by our Superior General, Sr. Izabela Świerad. The Sisters are grateful to God and to Provincial Superiors of Rwanda and Tanzania, the Major Superiors for arranging the program. In a special way they appreciated the accompaniment of Sr. Liberata Niyongira and Sr. Honorata Lyimo, the General Councillors.
▪ Much of the USA experienced some very cold, icy days this February. Even States in the south of the country, like Texas, which hardly ever get snow and ice, had extremely cold temperatures, snow and ice resulting in power outages and no drinking water! In the middle of February, West Virginia had a major winter storm. There was a power outage in several areas of our State. Thousands of West Virginians were affected for over a week. Over 100 of our employees at St. Mary’s Hospital and the Sisters’ Infirmary in Huntington, WV stayed overnight at the hospital, so that they could be at work the next morning. Special drivers went to outlying areas to pick up patients so they could come for appointments and procedures, as well as bringing employees to work. St. Joseph’s Hospital in Buckhannon, WV was more fortunate. Even though ice and snow caused an unusually high number of traffic accidents, the rural parts of the County looked like a winter wonderland making for awesome photography. Many of our employees worked from home for two days.
▪ West Virginia has been held up as a model for mitigating the spread of Covid-19 and for being first in the nation in vaccinating a high percentage of the population. St. Joseph’s Hospital joined other local entities in holding two huge vaccine clinics for the public each week.
▪The Sisters at Pallotti Convent in Laurel began the month with the celebration of the World Day of Consecrated Life by renewing their vows. Apart from all the spiritual practices during Lent, individual Sisters donated to the “rice bowl”, and the community will match what has been collected.
▪ A follow-up to the on-line Ongoing Formation Conference of 16th January, was held by Zoom on 30th January. The Sisters were given three questions to answer pertaining to the theme of the conference as well as to give their proposals or points of interest on the importance of On-going Formation. On the 2nd, the Guadalupe Media of Belize presented a video on Consecrated Life in which they showed our Sisters in Pallotti Community praying a decade of the rosary in the Chapel. Subsequently after Mass one day, Fr. Jeremy Zipple, SJ video-taped the closing hymn: "Holy is His Name" sung by the Sisters. The Media used these two items as well as items from priests and Sisters of other Congregations to present to the people. ▪ Sr. Catarina Tush also recited a decade of the rosary in front of the grotto of Our Lady at Novitiate Nazareth. The video was well-done and was very interesting and enjoyable.
Poland/ Russia/ Cameroon
▪ The children from the “Little Apostle community” founded by Sr. Katarzyna Gruca and now active at the Koszalin Cathedral, are preparing “Lent with drops of love”- that means, living the Lent in action. For 40 days, apart from reading and meditation on the Word of God, they also practice good deeds, such as cleaning the house, helping parents, coming to penitential services... To make their experience more fruitful, they mark on a calendar every action done.
▪ Due to the pandemic likewise, the Church in Russia was determined by restriction so the feast of the Consecrated Life, and all other meetings were transferred to the Zoom platform and took place online. From 25 to 30 January the Sisters working in Russia and also Sr. Dorota Szubstarska, who is waiting to go there, participated in a formation and retreat meetings prepared by Corsum (Conference of male and female religious in Russia) under the theme; Gaudete et Exsultate and Evangelii Gaudium. Among them were also sisters from Lithuania, Moldova and Poland. The resource person was Fr. Mariano Jose Sedano, Claretian who has been working in Russia for 25 years. Fr Mariano also, on the eve of the feast of the Consecrated Life, guided a seminar in which many sisters and other religious men and women took part. The participants shared their experiences in the midst of the pandemic.
▪ On the 31st January 2021, the Primary School in Doume, Cameroon, ran by the Pallottine Sisters, since 1998, celebrated the 70th anniversary. The celebrations took place preceded by a solemn Mass presided over by the Vicar General, Fr. Etienne Gontran Engamba Sazang. The guests of honor were the pioneer Sisters who for many years gave themselves wholly to this school: Srs. Edyta Budynek, Fabiana Leitgeber, Grażyna Wojnowska and the current principal, Sr. Agnieszka Dąbrowska. Others were representatives of municipal authorities, diocesan educational office, and the pioneer teachers who worked in the school from its existence, Pallottine sisters, friends of the school, parents and students. After the mass all took part in the festive meal. Sister Agnieszka thanked all the sisters, benefactors, staff and friends for their commitment and support which enabled the school to survive and influence the development of the local society.
▪ On the 2nd, on the feast day of the Consecrated Life, our Sisters from the community of Keshero, Congo participated in this festival organized by the Major Superiors. This year, the local Congregations gathered in the Parish of Our Lady of Africa and had a conference on the theme "Child Protection", facilitated by the Chairman of the Commission on the Protection of the Child. All showed their concern on this topic and discussed how to find ways to eradicate this scourge. After the conference, the religious went in procession with lighted candles to the Church. During the Holy Mass, Bishop Emeritus Theophile Kaboy reminded all gathered that our lights must always remain lit through the witness of our lives. Later refreshments were served.
▪ On the 11th, the Sisters who work in our hospital, in collaboration with the parish priest, organized a World Day of the Sick with prayer, sacraments and Mass. Many of them received the anointing of the sick. Fr. Roberto, who celebrated the Mass, encouraged them, stressing that illness or handicap, should not be regarded as a punishment from God but something that can bring us closer to God.
The Bagbasa community in Tripura, under the leadership of Sr. Inacinha Fernandes and Sr. Tarcila Kerketta, organized a children’s conference from 12 to 14 February. Around three hundred children from 4th to 10th class participated in this program. With the aim of promoting vocations, the Sisters gave a talk on our Founder, St Vincent Pallotti and on the charism of the Congregation. Other religious were also invited to introduce their Congregations. On the night of the 13th, together with the children, the Sisters animated a solemn Rosary procession with lighted candles praying for the world, for the children and their families.
▪ On Saturday after Ash Wednesday, the Pallottine Fathers of the Swiss Province invited the Sisters to participate in a Conference at Friedberg. Physical meetings were impossible because of the pandemic, that is why this year's "Conference" took place in the digital space. The speaker, Prof. Christian Cebulj, spoke about "handling power and trust in the Catholic Church". Sr. Maria Dörig who experienced this event as an unequivocal invitation to hope expressed: "It can be different, and it will be different!" As mature Christians, we can all contribute to the resurrecting of the Church from resignation and inertia. This is the attitude St. Vincent Pallotti has shown us: everyone is an apostle! In view of the history of the Church and in looking at prominent personalities there, the important role of religious communities, especially in today’s Church, was emphasized. Religious communities are an immeasurable resource for the Church through their spiritual background, biblical orientation, social imprint and effectiveness. We would like to share these encouraging and credible words with you.
Let us remember our Deceased Sisters
Sr. Apollonia Deschang *30.08.1922 †08.02.2021 South Africa