Lubumbashi (Democratic Republic of Congo). From 26 to 30 October 2023, Sister Annecie Audate, General Director of VIDES International, and Sister Ivone Goulart, World Delegate for the University Institutions of the FMA (ISS-FMA), collaborators of the Youth Ministry Sector, arrived in Lubumbashi, in O. L. of Africa Province (AFC), for the visit to the ISAMM (Institut Supérieur des Arts et Métier Marie Auxiliatrice) and for the VIDES National Congress.
On 26 October, they were solemnly welcomed at Luano airport in Lubumbashi by the Provincial, Sister Clarisse Ngoie, and some Sisters of the Provincial Council; by the General Delegate of ISAMM, Sister Albertine Tshikomb; by the Salesian Youth Pastoral Commission; by the Delegate national of VIDES, Sister Jeannette Kalume; by FMA and various delegations of VIDES who came from different cities for the Congress; by the Management Committee; by the delegation of students, the HEMBA folk dance group, and a representation of young people.
The two guests had different missions. Sister Annecie participated in the 1st VIDES RDC National Conference in Ruashi, Lubumbashi. Sister Ivone arrived on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of ISAMM, to visit this Institution for the first time and to share about management according to the charismatic guidelines of the Institute.
After words of welcome from an ISAMM student and two children from the Bengali nursery school, the folklore group with traditional gestures, songs, and dances expressed joy at their presence. From the airport, the procession headed towards the Provincial House, where another representation of the FMA, young people in formation, and young people from the Salesian Youth Movement were waiting for them. The reception continued in the chapel for a short prayer, the singing of the Magnificat, and the words of Sister Clarisse.
On 27 October, Sister Annecie brought together several VIDES delegations from Mbujimayi, Kafubu, Kinshasa, Kolwezi, Mokambo, and Ruashi Hodari for the Congress. The young people expressed the joy of meeting each other from different places, and Sister Annecie was happy to see the young people she had met during her visit in 2016, some already married with children. There were approximately 65 participants in the National Congress on the theme: “What is the role of volunteering in Congo? I was hungry and you gave me something to eat… (Mt 25: 35-36)”.
Sister Annecie then went to Lusaka, Zambia, where the VIDES Seminar was held from 3 to 5 November, with 34 participants
At the same time, Sister Ivone began her mission at ISAMM, welcomed by the entire Educational Community, for the celebrations of the ten years of life of the Institution. ISAMM opened in 2013 with the first Director General, Sister Anastasie Apentien, and is currently directed by Sister Albertine Tshikomb.
The day of 27 October began with the Eucharistic Celebration, followed by the discourse of the Director and the presentation of certificates of merit by Sister Ivonne to the Pioneers and students involved in Pastoral Care. Then there was the academic part, with the presence of various personalities from different educational institutions, with the proclamation of the results of the different cycles, and the awarding of diplomas to 175 students from different fields: Clothing Technician, Hotel Management and Protocol, Aesthetic Technician, Interior Architecture, Pattern Making, Textile Design, Hotel Management, Catering and Tourism, Pedagogy Applied to Clothing Technique.
On this occasion, the Provincial, the Director of ISAMM, and Sister Ivone Goulart received the diploma of Labor Ambassadors, awarded to them by Congo Panorama, an organization that fights for workers’ rights.
In the following days, from 28 to 30 October, Sister Ivone met with the Management Committee, the Board of Directors, the Academic Council, the pastoral team, and the student delegation of ISAMM for the work sessions.
On 29 October, she lived a Salesian moment by participating in the Mass with a performance by the young people of the Salesian Youth Movement at Laura Vicuña House, a Community for children from families in difficulty.
On 30 October, she spent the day at the Magnificat Farm, where she attended a young people’s show with music, dancing, and games.
In the remaining time, she was able to visit the other communities. In Tuendelee, Community of St. Joseph, she spoke to around 2,000 students and their teachers; in Kafubu Mary Help of Christians, she met 235 young people; in Ruashi, Immaculate Heart of Mary Community, she met the VIDES Congress group and 40 boarders. She also visited the community of Gambela, O. L. of the Poor, which hosts the retired and sick Sisters, and some students; and the Kafubu communities with 230 resident students and 20 Novices.
With their presence, Sister Annecie Audate and Sister Ivone Goulart brought hope and renewed impetus to the young people, the FMA, and the educators and teachers of the AFC Province, called to promote education, formation, and the missionary spirit in the African context, which is facing various challenges that risk disorientating young people.