AFRICA…and then what? Sister Monique, Belgian Missionary Sister of Our Lady of Africa, returned from Burkina Faso several years ago.
However, back home does not mean “retirement”! Rather, the missionary heart has no boundaries, and spontaneously she found places of work, or rather people to love, particularly the very poor.
In mission at Louvain-la-Neuve :
“Our mission can be lived wherever we are sent,” we read in the MSOLA Constitutions. Upon my arrival in Louvain-la-Neuve, a multicultural city, I discovered that we could live the MSOLA charism in a special way. Africans are everywhere. We meet them while shopping, in parish activities, on the way to school.
To share with young people what I have lived in Africa always gives me great joy: The director of a school in Ottignies (section of Louvain-la-Neuve), and a religion teacher, asked me for an animation. In the 39 high school classes which I visited in two years, students assailed me with questions about Burkina Faso, and my experiences during my forty-five years of living with the Burkinabe. I told them of course about the courage and faith of Africans. A group of seniors in the school go each year to Burkina Faso, to support a project. To be with them as they prepare to encounter another people seemed important.
Literacy for African women
Literacy for African women is another activity that I love very much. Moroccans especially, but also from the countries of sub-Saharan Africa. The “women’s group,” created by women – has two centers in the districts of Louvain-la-Neuve. This is where I go four times a week. There from texts related to their interests, they learn to speak, read and write French. I admire the commitment they show to get there, and their great desire to learn. Even more than learning French, they find here an opportunity to meet among themselves. For these women as for me, these meetings are an opportunity to be more open to cultures and different religions. Christian and Muslim holidays, during which we share a meal, are also good opportunities to live intercultural friendship. For each of us, these are always times of great richness and for me, the added joy to continue living my MSOLA mission.
Sister Monique Bonami, Belgium