The mission in Zambia of the Pallottine Missionary Sisters is now two years old. To mark the occasion Sr. Izabela Swierad, the Superior General, together with Sr. Basilisa Jacob, the Provincial Superior of the English -Tanzanian Province and Sr. Mary McNulty, a member of the Mission Commission went on visitation in May 2019. It was a very busy week with many activities. Here are some of the highlights of the visit.
It was a joy for the Sisters to see the good collaboration in the Pallottine Family between the Fathers and the two Sisters in their apostolates and their spiritual and social life in Westwood outside Lusaka. Presently a junior sister has come from Tanzania for a few months to support the Sisters. The mission in Westwood is run by the Indian Pallottine Fathers from Nagpur Province. There are three priests at the mission which is situated in a farming community which irrigates huge crops while along the roadside many poor families make a living selling fruit and vegetables and local beer. The parish has eight outstations and the St Vincent Pallotti Catholic Primary School. The priests also plan to start a small seminary in September. One priest and a Malawian Pallottine Brother are in Mandevu, a city slum parish in Lusaka.
The two Sisters are doing good work. Sr Veronica is teaching English to the senior classes at St Vincent Pallotti School. There are about 300 children in the school ranging in age from 2 to 12. During the week we visited the school and were present for the Assembly and for an enjoyable Singing Competition of individuals and groups – with some traditional dancing. Sr. Sesilia is busy in the Marian Health Post every day. This is held in two small rooms attached to the Convent. Many people come for treatment as well as counselling for HIV. Life is difficult as Sister has only one assistant and the space is so limited.
Good fraternal sharing and enjoyable meals were shared together as well as liturgical celebrations. We were moved and uplifted by the joyous singing at St Mary’s Church on Sunday. Fr Shaji Mathew, the parish priest, took us around to visit the parish outstations and showed us the newest church in a remote area. St Vincent Pallotti Church, the little mudbrick structure was roofless as the recent strong winds had blown the thatch roof away!
All of us were astonished to see the number of churches, mainly Protestant ones, situated in close proximity to one another in the parish and in Lusaka City. It seems the Government grants a specific area where churches may be built. The Fathers informed us that there is a great need for evangelization. In a family you can find the members belong to various churches. Some have no strong affiliation to one denomination.
We spent a day in Lusaka - we had a meeting with the Bishop and then had lunch at the Pallottine parish in Mandevu. Here we experienced another culture shock as we passed through an ultra-modern Shopping Mall before arriving at the slums of Mandevu where the parish is a hive of activity. We visited the primary school and met parishioners who work doing Catechesis, Counselling people living with Aids and a Charismatic Choir group.
On Sunday evening Sr. Izabela had an interesting slide show on the History of the two Congregations of Pallottine Sisters and the steps being taken towards reunification, the Inauguration of the International Noviciate in Poli Singisi, Arusha as well as the new mission among the Maasai in Magogo, Morogoro, Tanzania. The priests and Sisters enjoyed the interesting show.
The Visitation was an enjoyable and enriching experience for all. We appreciate the work being done on the mission and we ask, that our God of Infinite Love, will continue to bless and guide our missionaries in their various apostolates and that funds will be found to enable them to accomplish their many development projects. We also looked at the possibility of buying some land, so that the Sisters could develop their own apostolate in the future.
Our Lady Queen of Apostles and St Vincent Pallotti pray for them!
Sr. Mary McNulty SAC