Nice story of Sister Vickness in Paris, France


vickness-namgogo-b-2015BY Sister Vickness Nangogo Muleya, MSOLA.

On the 26th February, five days after my arrival in Paris, Sister Agnes, who once was my Novice mistress, and I went to visit our Sisters in Sceaux where we were invited for lunch.

When I had heard about the invitation, I was not sure whether I really wanted to go because I did not know how to speak French. I told myself not to trouble the elderly Sisters when I cannot speak French and they cannot speak English! I wondered to myself what it would be like and as I thought of it, I said to myself, “I won’t go but would propose to Agnes to go there when I could speak French!” Indeed, I tried to propose to her as, so far, since my arrival she has been so kind to show me around the place also because she can speak English easily. However, when I proposed to her to inform the Sisters that I would go there sometime later in March and not then, she did not agree with me. She believed that it would be no problem and that the Sisters did not mind at all even though I did not believe her. Mmmmnh! My plan to escape could not work.

However, on that particular Sunday, after Mass, we prepared to go. We took a train and in no time, we were there! Inside me I was trying hard to recollect all little words of French I had heard or learnt before but to no avail!

We arrived in time before lunch so that I could greet the Sisters and be introduced to them and vice versa. Upon arrival, we found Sister Marie Cécile waiting to welcome us with a big smile on her face! I told myself ‘now what to say Vicky’ and before I knew it, I was also beaming with a smile, we hugged and said our “bonjours” and that was all, I was mute, my French was finished! Turning around, the Sisters were all there coming one after the other to greet and welcome us.

Nonetheless, surprisingly enough, the Sisters seemed not to mind at all that I could not speak French. What seemed to be more important for them was that a younger Sister, their own Sister, fresh from Africa was there to visit them. They were eager to hear from me the news about where I was coming from, what I was doing and so forth.

Inside myself, there was no question of language anymore but I was only filled with love for these Sisters of mine who were so happy and graceful! They are all old but very serene and happy, grateful for whatever they have been, lived and are in their life.

At lunch, I sat with Sister Françoise de Traversay. We were in the same community during my postulate; Sister Agnes, who had accompanied me, Sister Claire-Michelle, who has worked in Uganda, and Sister Nicole Robion. I leave you to imagine the conversation!

To my happy surprise, after lunch, I saw each Sister getting busy with a little service. Some were cleaning the tables, others were cleaning the dining floor and others offered to place the washed dishes in their respective places! Noticing my admiration, one Sister explained that, in fact, they do most of the simple and sometimes big responsibilities themselves such as bursar, accounts, secretariat and administration! After it, they went for a short nap each to their room while Sisters Marie-Cécile, Francoise and Agnes took me for a walk through the park of Sceaux. A very big and beautiful park.

parc-de-sceauxIn addition to the beauty of the day, at 2:30 pm, all the Sisters gathered in the sitting room where I was to share with them the video about the Thanksgiving Mass and departure of MSOLA from Zambia. This moment was so solemn and created a reflective, appreciative atmosphere among the sisters. They were very happy and grateful that I had shared the video with them. They even proposed to show it to all the other communities I would visit later, in the days to come. At the end of the day we had a cup of coffee together and interacted more, it was wonderful!

Perceptions and conceptions are not always what the reality is. Today I am happy to have a joyful, happy appreciation of our common mission. I was happy to see life among these elderly Sisters, looking at them being so happy and at peace with each other. I felt encouraged and I experienced God very close to his loved ones. With God, life is eternal!

sceaux

Traduction en français de sœur Vickness qui ne fait que commencer à s’exprimer en français. Félicitation!

Une belle histoire de Sœur Vickness à Paris, France.

Le 26 février, six jours après mon arrivée à Paris, Sœur Agnès, qui a été ma maîtresse de Novice, et moi-même, sommes allé rendre visite à nos sœurs à Sceaux où nous avions été invités pour le déjeuner.

Je n’étais pas sûr si je voulais vraiment y aller, car je ne parle pas la langue de Molière.Pourquoi déranger les sœurs âgées si je ne peux pas communiquer avec elles ? J’ai plutôt pensé à m’y rendre seulement lorsque je parlerais le français! C’est ce que j’ai proposé à Sœur Agnès qui était d’ailleurs si gentille avec moi et peu parler anglais. Mais elle n’a pas été d’accord. Elle savait que les sœurs ne se souciaient pas du tout de ce problème linguistique. Mmmmnh ! Mon plan de fuite n’a pas fonctionné !

Toutefois, après la messe du dimanche, nous nous sommes préparés à partir. Nous avons pris un train et nous y étions en peu de temps! Je m’efforçais de me rappeler toutes les petites paroles de français que j’avais entendues ou apprises, mais sans succès!

Nous sommes arrivés avant le déjeuner pour que je puisse être présenté à la communauté. Nous avons trouvé Sœur Marie Cécile qui nous attendait avec un grand sourire ! Je me disais « maintenant quoi dire Vicky ? » et avant que je le sache, je rayonnais aussi avec un sourire. Nous avons simplement dit “bonjours”. C’était tout. J’étais muette ! Me retournant, les sœurs sont apparues pour me saluer et nous accueillir.

Les sœurs ne semblaient pas du tout gênées que je ne puisse parler français. Ce qui leur était important, c’était de voir une sœur cadette venue d’Afrique pour les visiter. Elles étaient impatientes d’avoir des nouvelles de mon pays, ce que je faisais et ainsi de suite.

À l’intérieur de moi-même, il ne s’agissait plus de langage. Je n’étais que remplie d’amour pour mes sœurs qui étaient si heureuses et si gracieuses! Elles sont toutes âgées, mais très sereines, heureuses et reconnaissantes pour ce qu’elles ont été et vécu dans leur plus jeune vie en Afrique.

Au déjeuner, je me suis assis avec Sœur Françoise de Traversay qui a été dans ma communauté pendant mon postulat. Agnès, qui m’avait accompagnée, Sœur Claire-Michelle, qui a travaillé en Ouganda, et Sœur Nicole Robion. Je vous laisse imaginer la conversation ! Après le déjeuner, à mon heureuse surprise, j’ai vu chaque sœur s’occuper d’un petit service. Certaines nettoyaient les tables, d’autres le plancher de la salle à manger, d’autres plaçaient les assiettes et plats lavés dans les armoires! Remarquant mon admiration, une sœur a expliqué qu’elles assument la plupart des responsabilités; économat, secrétariat et l’administration. Puis, elles allèrent faire une petite sieste dans leur chambre tandis que les Sœurs Marie-Cécile, Françoise et Agnès m’ont amené faire une promenade dans le parc de Sceaux. Un très grand et beau parc.

En après-midi, toutes les sœurs se sont rassemblées dans la salle de télévision pour visionner une vidéo sur la messe d’Actions de grâces et la fermeture de notre dernière maison de Lusaka en Zambie. Ce moment a été solennel et a créé une atmosphère réfléchie et appréciative parmi les sœurs. Elles étaient très heureuses et reconnaissantes que j’aie partagé cette vidéo avec elles. Elles m’ont même proposé de le montrer à toutes les autres communautés que je visiterais plus tard. À la fin de la journée, autour d’une tasse de café, nous avons pu poursuivre nos échanges. C’était merveilleux !

Perceptions et préconceptions ne reflètent pas la réalité. Aujourd’hui, je suis contente de pourvoir apprécié notre commune mission. J’ai été heureuse de voir ces sœurs âgées pleines de vie. Elles sont sereines et vivent en paix les unes avec les autres. J’ai senti la présence de Dieu dans celles qu’Il aime. Avec Dieu, la vie est éternelle !

Farewell of the MSOLA Sisters – Regiment Parish, Lusaka, Zambia.


farewell-zambia-feb-2017-22bA farewell Mass was celebrated at Regiment Parish on Sunday, February 12, 2017, to honour the  (MSOLA). Two Bishops were present, namely the Auxiliary Bishop of Chipata, Tr. Rev Benjamin S. Phiri and Bishop of Mpika, Tr. Rev Justin Mulenga together with the Archbishop of Lusaka, Most Rev Thelesphore-George Mpundu. Many Sisters of four Congregations, namely the Sisters of the Child Jesus, the Theresian sisters, the Daughters of the Redeemer and the Bethany Sisters were also present to thank them for the help and formation the MSOLA provided when they were established, like the Theresian Sisters in 1927.

100-years-in-zambia-msolabWere honoured: Sisters Marie-Ange Ndayishimiye, Vickness Nangogo Muleya, Flora Ridder, Victoire Niyonzima and Revocate Kabahuma.

This was the last chapter not written in a book published in 2002 to commemorate 100 years of the MSOLA in Zambia. Altogether, they have been in this country for 115 years. See below presentation of the MSOLA presented by Sister Vickness Nangogo Muleya at the beginning of the Mass which illustrates the variety of ministerial work they did over those years. We ask the blessing of the Lord upon them all as their mission will move to other African countries such as Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi.

Thanksgiving of Service of the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa in Zambia 12th February 2017.

Today we gather to celebrate the service and presence of the MSOLA in Zambia as well as bidding farewell to you and the country at large.We were founded by Cardinal Lavigerie in the year 1869 in Algeria, a year after founding the Society of Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers). We first arrived in Zambia in 1902 at Chilubula in the Northern Province of Zambia. We have worked in the dioceses of Kasama, Mansa, Chipata, Ndola, Mpika, Lusaka and Solwezi.

From 1902 to 2017 – 115 Years: The sisters have been involved in education, health and pastoral services such as:

  • St. Theresa Girls Secondary School in Chilubula
  • Santa Maria Health Centre in Chilubi Island
  • Minga Teachers Training College and Minga Hospital Eastern Province
  • Lubwe Mission Hospital in Luapula
  • Catechism and home craft centres to mention but a few.
  • We also concentrated on the formation of leaders in the Local Church such as
  • Formation of Small Christian Communities Leaders
  • Catechists
  • Coordinating of On-Going Formation e.g.  at Kalundu Centre
  • Facilitation of chapters for different congregations.

The development of women and youth through programs such as Youth Alive, literacy classes and carried out many other pastoral activities in parishes. We are glad for the privilege to have been part of the formators at the beginning of the:

  • Sisters of the Child Jesus,
  • The Theresian sisters
  • The Daughters of the Redeemer and
  • The Bethany Sisters

Lusaka Archdiocese:

We worked at national level at the Catholic secretariat and Zambia Association of Sisterhood. Apart from that, we initiated small Christian communities, taught at Kabulonga Girls Secondary School and schools of higher education such as University Teaching Hospital School of Nursing and Evelyn Hone College. We served as chaplains at Universities E.g. University Teaching Hospital, University of Zambia, Copperbelt University, etc.

Ministries at Regiment Parish (1966-2017)

We initiated the Xaverians youth movement, Catholic Family Movement, Catholic Action and Legion of Mary, taught religion and catechism in the parish and in the schools, visited the prisons, training of volunteers such as the Zambian Helpers Society, launching of the small Christian community movement in Chilenje and the home-based care.

farewell-zambia-feb-2017-04Presentation of Symbols:

The Candle: the light of Christ that has been the guide to our sisters who lived and were missionaries in Zambia.

The Bible, the word of God is core to evangelisation; the word of God is our source of inspiration and strength to carry on the mission entrusted to us.

Cardinal Lavigerie, the founder of our congregation, was convinced that women have a very important role in evangelisation.

Mother Marie Salome, our first Superior General – stood firm in faith to the challenges of the time to see the congregation flourish.

Our Lady of Africa: from the beginning of the Congregation has entrusted itself under the guidance and protection of Mary Our Lady of Africa.

Zambia: Our land of missions – we have loved and still love Zambia with all its people, land, richness and its challenges; we have loved everything about Zambia.

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Sharing in the Joy of Children.


sharing-in-the-joy-of-children-03b2“…. let the little children come to me….,” Jesus said.

By Sister Vickness Nangogo Muleya (MSOLA).   

It is now coming to the end of the year. So many things have been and have come to pass. It was a busy year with so many deadlines to meet. It was always rush hours, everybody was busy to meet their own demands and requests. However, this did not leave the children out them too inclusive.

It is in this view that I wish to share with you a bit about what I am involved in at the Parish where I am working. Since I arrived, I have been involved in many different programmes and activities such as Caritas, Pastoral and Education activities. It is from the later that I want to share with you this particular aspect of the Kindergarten.

On each particular day, I could see the little ones at our Kindergarten in the grounds of the Parish coming very early in the morning to school being brought by their parents and guardians and going back home late in the afternoon. Imagine how busy their childhood is? They have not much time left for themselves because upon reaching home they are bathed, fed and it is time for home work! So this is the children’s daily routine for those in kindergartens.

Nonetheless, on the 13th of October, I was lucky to be among those who accompanied the children for “a day out to children’s play pack”. This was to facilitate at least a day out for the children after so much hard work by them! After so many exams and tests, they needed to relax, to play and be away from everything for a day!

I was so happy to be among the children, so joyous and glorious, full of laughter and innocence they were! We started our trip around 9 in the morning and by 10:30 we were at the place but before that the children were led into prayer to entrust our day into the Lord. On the way the children sang and made all kinds of joyful noise, they were very excited and looking forward. This was amazing. Before I could realise it, I was also jumping and singing with them and doing all kinds of crazy things children do, you can imagine!

So whilst there we ensured that our children had a special mark to be identified with because there were many other children from other kindergartens around the city of Dar-es- Salaam. We gathered them under a big tree and arranged ourselves in readiness to start the relaxing, playing, etc. The team ensured that all the children participated in all the activities. Oh what a wonder to see all the children enjoying themselves! Some were afraid with certain activities at the beginning but when they got used to the mood of the day they did not want to stop. The most of all was when we went into the pools. Practically, the pools were especially well prepared for children, the very small kids just went under heavy showers which eventually made a very low pool down. My goodness come and see the little ones diving and jumping up and down under these showers and in this little pool! I told myself maybe that is why Jesus said, if you want to enter the Kingdom of God you have to become like little children!

It is very easy to make a child content and happy with very little things!  After the swimming, we had our lunch and after we gathered our children and headed home, this time there was not much excitement and noise because now they were tired and content. Therefore, upon entering and sitting in the bus the kids were all sleeping! When we reached the Parish we found their parents waiting for them. After ensuring that all were safe in the hands of their parents we all dispersed to our respective homes tired but happy!      

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