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From November 20 to 10 December 2010 our Superior General, Sr. Izabela Świerad, accompanied by Sr. Josephina D’Souza, General Councilor, made her first canonical visitation to the east African countries of Rwanda and Congo. Rwanda, a small country in the heart of Africa is surrounded by green hills and valleys; therefore it is also known as the country of a thousand hills. We have four communities in Rwanda and two in Congo. These communities consist of 29 native sisters and 6 missionaries from the Polish province. The witness of missionaries and their silent dedication to the poorest of the poor has made a great impact on the native sisters. The many hardships have brought them together in one spirit, and today they are witnesses of reconciliation to the Church in Rwanda.

Both the contemplative and active life of our sisters is well balanced. They work as teachers in the schools and direct two kindergartens with very good education programs. The Sisters are very much involved in health ministry in different dioceses of Rwanda where they run five well advanced health centers that include children of all ages, women and men. Many of our sisters work as administrators and nurses in these centers where they give direct care to the people afflicted by HIV/AIDS. They also render their service to ‘mother and child care’, and manage a nutrition center where they teach the mothers to prepare a variety of nutritious food for their children using natural resources at minimum cost.

It is heart wrenching to see hundreds of children who are suffering from malnutrition and other diseases related to it. Management of all these centers is well appreciated due to our sisters’ collaboration, commitment and dedication. In collaboration and support of Maitri organization, Sisters also care for hundreds of orphans and poor children, who can live and go to school. Above all, people experience God’s compassionate love through their service in different fields.

 

In close collaboration with the Pallottine Fathers and the diocesan priests, our sisters are involved in the faith formation of the people in different parishes; especially their dedication at the pilgrimage and spiritual center at the Sanctuary of Kibeho is remarkable. These are activities needing much dedication and perseverance. Giving direction to the people’s lives and guiding the youth is a challenging ministry for our young sisters. The UAC charism is well understood and lived by Fathers, Sisters and lay people.

We thank our Sisters for whole heartedly sharing their joys and sorrows with us and for taking us into confidence. May God bless their efforts and fill them with renewed grace and strength to continue to work for His greater honor and glory.

In February 2011 the now Delegature of Rwanda Congo will receive the official status of a region, known as Mother of Kibeho Region.

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Photo: Generalate's archives

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* Our Way of Life *

 

"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)