Boksburg (South Africa). From 1 to 3 October 2022, in Boksburg, Gauteng, at the provincial headquarters, the Assembly of O.L. of Peace Province (AFM) took place, attended by eighteen Daughters of Mary Help of Christians from the five communities of South Africa and Lesotho.
The Provincial, Sr. Cecilia Motanya, opened the Assembly bringing greetings from the FMA of Zambia and the elderly sisters who were unable to be present. She exhorted us to consider this time as a time of renewal, conversion, and journey, to live the three priority choices indicated by the 24th General Chapter in order to be “communities that generate life in the heart of contemporaneity”.
The Assembly, organized by the Provincial Pastoral Team, included moments of personal reflection, group work, and presentations, which led the Province to some decisions relating to the three choices of vocation, missionary synodality, and integral ecology. Starting from these, each community will continue on its journey. Sr. Cecilia Motanya thanked all the participants for their active and collaborative participation.
Each community presented its experience of celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Foundation of the FMA Institute and all were able to listen to the testimonies of the pioneers, Sr. Mary Margaret Walshe, Sr. Giovanna Pesenti, Sr. Patricia Finn, and Sr. Lidia Castro, who shared the times of the start of the first communities in South Africa, their life, joys, and challenges in the apostolate. Between one presentation and another, the organizers Sr. Florence Mulenga, Sr. Stephania Mwansa, and Sr. Maria Nguyen entertained everyone with a quiz on the Institute and the Province, amid applause and dances.
On the last day, gratitude was expressed for the gift of the Provincial and of every sister of the Province. The Eucharistic celebration of thanksgiving was presided over by Fr. Emmanuel Kagimbangabo, Salesian of Don Bosco of Blessed Michael Rua Vice Province (AFM). During the homily, starting from the Gospel passage of the Good Samaritan, Fr. Emmanuel underlined the importance of knowing each other when we are still alive; the absence of the Sisters is perceived the more they know each other. In conclusion, he encouraged us to ‘recognize’ and express gratitude to each Animator, the Provincial, and all the Sisters of the Province.
In the afternoon, the family moment of gratitude to Sr. Cecilia began with the video of the greeting of the Superior General, Mother Chiara Cazzuola, who invited the FMA of the Province to read, study, and share the Acts of the 24th GC. She quoted Mother Mazzarello’s Letter 27 in which she says, “we lit the fire in our hearts, but if we don’t rake the ashes from time to time and put on some wood, it will go out. Now is the best time to rekindle that fire.” She then assured everyone of prayers, so that the Holy Spirit may guide them, certain that Mary walks with them and supports them. She concluded by wishing all a good journey.
In closing, the Provincial thanked all the participants. The Assembly ended with the hymn of the Magnificat.