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Rwanda 1977

Beginnings of the Pallottine Mission in Rwanda

When in 1968 the Polish Pallottines acquired the status of the province, and an increase in vocations became a sign of further development of the Congregation in Poland, the intuition that this is the time to fully implement the charism of the Founder "to go to missions to distant lands" matured in the sisters. It is true that everyday life in the communist regime meant for the Church a huge challenge. Concern about keeping the faith in a society was a missionary task to us and somehow explained our less direct involvement in foreign missions at that time. There, in our own country, has been our mission. This was our conviction. But the Lord saw it differently. Many of the sisters began to report the readiness to go into the unknown, due to a special inner call to work on missions. Ultimately, a deep understanding of the essence of the charism of St. Vincent formed the basis for decisions of superiors (Sr. Zygmunta Bielawy initially, then Sr. Fides Misiewicz, together with their councils) to send the sisters to the mission. Historically, the matter of the mission and the heroic beginnings of the German sisters in Cameroon laid at the source of our foundation, us as Pallottines, as the fulfillment of the will and dreams of St. Vincent Pallotti.

Archbishop of Rwanda V. Nsengiyumry and Polish Provincial Sr. Fides Misiewicz, SAC, Gdansk, 1977

In 1977, Polish Pallottines formed their first independent missionary "outpost" in Rwanda. The preparation for taking this work started with the arrival of Bishop of Rwanda John B. Gahamanyi in Poland. The meeting with a Rwandian Bishop took place in Gdansk on May 5th, 1976. The Sisters who had been preparing themselves to the mission were introduced to the Bishop. When the Bishop presented the situation of the Church in Rwanda, there was no doubt that our presence in Africa was necessary.

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"Our diverse talents and abilities, our differences in culture, nationality and age are assets for the richness of the community. Although we may be engaged in a variety of ministries, we all share the common call to apostolic discipleship in a community of the Catholic Apostolate of St. Vincent Pallotti."(OWL, 91)

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"Christ, the Apostle of the Eternal Father, and his mission are central to our personal and community life, giving meaning and direction to our thinking, our spirituality, our prayer, action and suffering." (OWL, 19)

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"As a community of disciples we are gathered around Jesus, the Apostle of the Eternal Father. Like the first disciples, we want to be with Jesus, be sent out by him and return to him to evaluate our service in the light of his presence." (OWL, 88)

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"As Pallottines, it is our special charism to foster growth in faith and love among the laity, to awaken them to awareness of their apostolic call, and to cooperate with them in furthering the apostolic mission." (OWL, 21)

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"Our relationships with one another should be marked by a love that bears all, believes all and hopes for all, a love that is neither conceited nor jealous, which hurts no one, nor is embittered or resentful. It is never discouraged but remains patient and kind. It rejoices with others and shares their suffering. It is with this kind of love that we should help and support one another." (OWL, 90)

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