Buseesa, Uganda Volume 11, Issue 3 November 2005
African Women Profess Vows as Sisters of Notre Dame
The Sisters of Notre Dame have a central formation house in Njiro, Arusha, Tanzania. Up until October 1, 2005, there have been 24 African women in formation for the Sisters of Notre Dame. Nineteen of the women are from Kenya, the mission sponsored by our Indian sisters. Two of the women are from Nigeria and their pr iest uncle had come to
know our sisters in California. Three of the women are from Buseesa, Uganda, our own African mission. Sister Mary Amony and Sister Mary Immaculate are beginning their second year of a two-year novitiate program. Sister Mary Juliet is beginning her first year of novitiate. The two second-year novices look forward to professing their first vows next year in October, 2006, in Buseesa
Nine of the women professed their first vows on October 1, 2005 at a ceremony held in the school building, on the same grounds as the novitiate house in Tanzania. Their families had traveled overnight by bus from Kenya to be present for the ceremony. The relatives from Nigeria had a longer journey to make. Bishop Josaphat Labulu presided at the Profession Mass and students from the local catholic secondary school made up the choir.
October 1 is celebrated as the Foundation Day for the Sisters of Notre Dame. On that date in 1850, Hilligonde Wolbring, foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame, and Elisabeth Kuhling, co-foundress, entered the novitiate to begin their training in religious life. There was great rejoicing as these nine women professed vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience in the ceremony at our new African foundation.
Celebrating the SND Presence in Africa The second African Regional Conference was held in Njiro, Arusha, Tanzania, September 26–29, 2005. Thirty SND’s from around the world were in attendance including missionary sisters and sisters in leadership. Our missionary sisters from Covington in attendance were: Sister Mary Janet Stamm, Sister Mary Delrita Glazer, and Sister Mary Rita Geoppinger. Sister Marla Monahan, provincial, was also in attendance. The purpose of the meeting, conducted by our General Government in Rome, was to renew and strengthen our discipleship for mission in Africa. The theme of the meeting was, “The Future of our mission in Africa.” Sisters of Notre Dame from our India province have sponsored the mission is Tanzania for the past 13 years and the mission in Kenya for the past 4 years. Our province in Brazil has sponsored the mission in Mozambique for the past 12 years. Our own Kentucky province, together with the California province, has sponsored our mission in Buseesa, Uganda, for the past 10 years. Besides our primary and secondary schools in Uganda, our SND presence in the other African countries includes schools for poor children who otherwise might not have the opportunity for an education, a women’s center
Sisters Mary Joell, Marla and Mary Sujita with two teachers and a first grade class in Tanzania.
assisting women to improve the quality of life for themselves and their families, and health centers including training in natural medicine. The meeting acknowledged the situation in Africa that includes tremendous gifts and resources, wonderful people, and at the same time abject poverty and political instability in many areas. Sister Mary Sujita, Superior General of the Sisters of Notre Dame, made this observation, “Our rootedness in the heart of God and in the soil of Africa will give us the vision and the necessary inner energy and vision we need to be effective prophetic disciples of Jesus among our African sisters and brothers.”
St. Julie School Wins Music & Speech Competitions
St. Julie School, again, achieved First Place in the annual Center Music Competition. The students achieved a score of 619 points
out of a possible 750 points. Sr. Mary Bernarde’s groups did exceptionally well in the Western Song and the Creative Dance section. The students scored first in five of the remaining six events. Sister was especially happy with the children who participated this year. They not only came on time for their practices, but often begged Sister not to stop, to just do it one more time! It seems that the students enjoy the sessions and give their all to both the practice and the competition. Congratulations, Sr. Mary Bernarde and students! During the summer, students at NDA also participated in a speech competition whose topic focused on whether Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania should form a federation. The competition was in Bujuninext, some distance away. Since their was little advance notice of the competition, the two Political Education teachers lost no time training the girls. Five girls were chosen as speakers and eight were designated as observers. The competition’s actual goal was to see how well the participants knew English. Notre Dame Academy finished FIRST in the competition! One student was awarded number one in the conference, having scored 88 points out of 100. All other participants had scored at least 60 points. The school had earned 355 points, 38 points ahead of the next school. The school prize was a world wall map and the student prizes consisted of copybooks or math kits. All were indeed proud of the students and the school, not just NDA, but also St. Julie School since the students had first started learning English in St. Julie School. Sisters in Buseesa
Interested in traveling to Uganda? Immersion trip to central and south Uganda. June 26 to July 12, 2006. For information, contact Sr. Mary Ethel Parrott at email@example.com.
Students Share Sorrow in Loss of Student
World Youth Day in Germany
In the middle of the summer, the Sisters in Buseesa sent the following news: Recently, we heard on the radio that Karungi Immaculate had died. Karungi was a wonderful student and a beautiful young girl. When she was in S2 at NDA, Karungi was not feeling well. During the holiday break, she was taken to Fort Portal and received medication. She returned for Term 3 and seemed to be well, at least for a short time. We could tell that she was in pain and had little energy. Karungi’s mother had died about three years ago of AIDS. When the students returned for the beginning of the new school year, Karungi was not among them. It was a while before anyone heard that she was in the hospital in Kampala and had AIDS. As the year progressed, we learned that Karungi was with her father, and the hospital could do no more for her. A few days later she died. Thirteen of the NDA girls (10 of whom had been with Karungi since P3 at St. Julie School) and some of the primary students who were related to Karungi attended the funeral with us. When we arrived we went into a small room where the coffin had been placed in the middle of the floor. We knelt or sat by the coffin and prayed (or cried) quietly. At the conclusion of the Mass, Karungi’s father opened the coffin and very gently arranged the cloths that were around her face. How tenderly he did this! After the coffin was placed in the ground we threw petals of flowers onto the coffin, as is the custom. As I looked by my foot, I saw a very small red flower, the same shade as the red blouse that Karungi frequently wore. I picked up the flower and threw it to her. Karungi had been very talented, having ranked probably second in her class. But it was her unassuming nature and kindness that we remember the most. Karungi’s suffering is now over and her life is a beautiful witness of living generously until God calls us. Sr. Anita Marie
Five students from Uganda attended the World Youth Day in Germany in August. The girls were fascinated with the plane ride. Those who did not go could not believe a plane could hold so many people and that there was a toilet you could flush! Thee girls stayed with a family for the week and went sightseeing often. They particularly enjoyed ice cream and riding the “moving steps” (escalators). At the Youth Conference they were overwhelmed by the number of people in one place. One girl became ill with malaria and missed most of the conference.
Sisters Celebrate Arrival Ten Years Ago July 13, the 10th anniversary of the sisters’ arrival in Uganda was a school day for St. Julie Primary and Notre Dame Academy Secondary. The sisters wrote: Yes, 10 years ago we arrived and put our feet on “holy ground.” Today we are celebrating God’s many blessings. We started this morning with an inspiring communion service prepared by Sr. Anita Marie. Sr. Bernadette prepared a special breakfast for us before we hurried off to school. Sr. Paulynne, our “one-sister social committee” decorated the place with posters, signs, and pictures. Tonight we will have a festive supper with our formation community. (NOTE: At a later date, there will be a formal celebration of their arrival.) Sr. Mary Janet
She described the hospital as being as big of all of Buseesa. They visited classes and shared information on Uganda with the other students. On the second last day, the girls visited with a sister (not a Sister of Notre Dame) from Kampala, Uganda, who fixed them Ugandan foods. The girls were delighted! Their chaperone, Melanie (a past volunteer), took very good care of them and drove them around. The girls were surprised that so many people had their own cars. On the last night, the girls were so excited about going home that they could hardly sleep. Now they are back in Buseesa, and all the richer for their wonderful experience. Sister Anita Marie
Children of Buseesa
Meet Christopher, a precious little boy who lives in Buseesa, Uganda. Christopher owes his life to Sister Mary Delrita. When Christopher was born, his mother was not able to nurse him. There is no baby formula and there are no bottles in the remote area of Uganda where Christopher lives. The family brought Christopher to the parish priest to be baptized because he was dying from dehydration and malnourishment. The parish priest informed Sister Delrita of the situation and she and Sister Janet walked to the family home. Sister Delrita had taken a dropper, sugar, oil, and boiled water. She fed the dying child and instructed the mother to continue trying to nurse the baby. Today, Christopher is a bright and beautiful first-grader at St. Julie Primary School. He is a reminder of the gift of life to each of us.
Sisters of Notre Dame Mission Office 1601 Dixie Highway Covington, KY 41011
Enclosed with this issue of Drum Beats is an envelope, if you would care to make a donation to the Sisters of Notre Dame mission in Uganda. Now, more than ever, St. Julie Primary and Notre Dame Academy Secondary Schools need your spiritual and financial support. Thank you for your generosity.
Ready for Departure to Uganda The early days of July 1995 were filled with farewells and the packing of all the dishes, bedding, clothing, personal items and much more. Boxes were sealed after their contents were recorded. The airlines had given permission for the Sisters to bring extra boxes. The “extras” amounted to 13 boxes plus their personal luggage. On one of the last days at home, the Sisters of the province gathered for a family “send-off” for Sisters Mary Janet and Delrita. After dinner, each Sister came forward and blessed both Sisters. It was a very touching and emotional experience. The next day, the two Sisters with their many relatives and friends joined all the Sisters of the Province in a special liturgy. The missionary Sisters were asked about their willingness to walk with the poor and oppressed of Uganda, their willingness to allow their own lives to be touched
by the Ugandan people. Their enthusiastic “I will” was a forceful statement of their trust in the hands of God who had called them to their mission. Sisters Mary Janet and Delrita were presented with mission crucifixes, replicas of the one in Coesfeld, Germany, where the Sisters of Notre Dame had their beginnings in 1850. The entire congregation extended their hands in blessing for the missionary Sisters. Finally, July 11, the day of departure arrived. Sisters lined the Provincial House drive. Promises of prayers and waves sent the Sisters on their way. Sisters Mary Delrita and Janet departed from Cincinnati and arrived the next day in London. They were met by a Sister of Notre Dame and given a tour of the city. Since they had not slept much on the flight, both of the missionaries had a difficult time staying awake and alert for the sights of London. Another ninehour flight brought them to Uganda, where two bishops, government and parish leaders, priests, sisters and villagers from Buseesa, welcomed them. The Sisters remained in Kampala, the Ugandan capital, for a few days then traveled by car to Kakamura. They visited their new home in Buseesa, which was not yet ready for occupancy. Upon their arrival, a procession formed, and dancing girls led the Sisters and people of the village with all clapping their hands. Some days later, Sisters Mary Delrita and Janet were able to move into their new home in Buseesa and begin their mission work.
African Woman Profess Vows Students Share Loss of a Student Sisters Celebrate Arrival 10 Years Ago