Karibu (welcome in Swahiili) to our General Superior, who at the end of July surprised the members of the International Novitiate in Tanzania with a visit. What a joy to meet Mother again! The group of Sisters welcomed Sr. Izabela at Kilimanjaro Airport and the Novices, with songs and roses, dancing cheerfully came out to meet her at the gate of the Novitiate House. The Novice Mistress, Sr. Marie Claire Mukeshimana, lead all to the chapel and offered a prayer of praise to the Lord, for a good trip of Sister, thanking for her commitment to our Congregation, asking blessing for these days of our being together.
One year has passed since the inauguration of the International Novitiate took place and a group of young women from five countries entered the Novitiate. It was at that time when our Superior General was here for her last visit. Now she came to see the fruit of our work, to see how the small seed planted not long ago in this new African soil is growing.
The visit of the Superior General was diversified with the special invitation to a celebration of First and Final Vows of the Conventual Franciscan Friars in our Parish of Saint Noe Mawagali in Poli Singisi, Arusha. After the Eucharist there was a banquet meal and special cultural program, which ended that evening. It was really a good beginning of the visit of our Superior General since at the celebration she had the opportunity to meet with many Sisters of the neighboring religious communities and Franciscans with whom we work in this Franciscan Parish from the time of our arrival.
The following days were occupied with the program prepared by Superior General: different encounters, visits, classes on the History of the congregation, especially the very beginnings, and on consecrated life based on the document New wine in new Wineskins. We were happy with Sister’s teaching and the explanations she provided, as well the Power Point presentation.
On one afternoon Sister Izabela invited the whole community to take part in a Competition on the life of St. Vincent Pallotti. The questions were very interesting but challenging. 20 Novices from different countries were divided into two groups. Each group proposed three novices to represent the group for the purpose of answering the questions. To our surprise the six Novices of the two groups managed to answer almost all the questions, even the challenging ones. The 1st and the 2nd winners were given prizes. Three chosen judges: Sr. Basilisa, Sr. Rosemarie Steinbach, and Sr. Marie Claire did a good job. The Competition was very enjoyable and educational/ informative and we all learned a lot from this activity.
Sister Izabela dedicated time to meet with Sr. Basilisa Jacob, Provincial and the Community of professed Sisters, with the Formators, Sr. Marie Claire Mukeshimana and Sr. Agrippina Mmassy and every Novice. She attended also a meeting of the Parish Youth and the Asizi HIV Group – with whom our Novices regularly meet and pray. She also examined the house and environment to see the necessary needs of the Novitiate Community for the future.
The visit was ended with the Eucharistic Celebration presided by Fr. Rivani, a Carmelite Priest. With words of encouragement and her motherly blessing our Superior General left Tanzania wishing God’s graces and success to the new group of postulants who will arrive at the end of September.
Sr. Florida Mjengi, SAC