“Only women can accomplish this mission!” says Cardinal Lavigerie
The sisters in Ghardaia, Algeria, participate in women’s ceremony for two marriages.
• It was 2 days before the birth of our Savior Jesus that two of our sisters attended a wedding party of a friend of our community. It was a great experience to be in the middle of all this feminine Mozabite world. When we arrived we saw the women ‘covered up’ according to their culture, which does not allow them to show their faces when they are outside. Stepping inside, we could see the beauty of these women with their kindness and warm welcome. It was the dance party, which is done before marriage in a girl’s family. It was interesting to see the dress of different Algerian cultures, as the bride danced and changed outfits that night at least five times. Everyone sang and danced with her in turn, accompanied by music and traditional instruments. At the end of the dance, they offered Algerian tea and cakes. We lived this experience in the joy and happiness of being women with women.
• On December 26, we also participated in another wedding party in Melika. We found that it was two brides who are cousins and who preferred that the ceremony be done in the same family. We arrived after the afternoon prayer and shared a meal with them. We learned that according to their tradition, the celebrations must be done according to the Ibadi culture and tradition. Everything is pre-established to avoid inequalities in the wedding ceremonies. There is no ceremony for the rich or the poor; society offers the means so that wherever there is marriage, there is the same way of celebrating; such as food, equipment, mats, utensils, etc. This time was the henna ceremony: they put henna on the hands and feet of the bride. It was a ceremony to initiate the girl into her tradition. Here, she is dressed in a traditional gown that carries different meanings. For example: the white fabric, symbol of the shroud which reminds the bride that death exists, the fabric which has several colors to remind her that in life, there is good and bad, etc. At the end, they also put the henna in the palm of our hand!
We are grateful to be women in the midst of these peoples who welcome us and make us participate in their culture and their daily life. Our Founder had said that “Despite the zeal of the missionaries, their efforts will never produce sufficient fruit if they are not helped by women apostles among women”.
We wish good marriage and happiness to all these couples; May the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph accompany them.
It is also in this joy of being apostles that we have again this year welcomed about twenty children, much less numerous this year, because of the current events of the Church of Algeria. The children who come to us also learn to live together, to play together between Arabs and Mozabites, between girls and boys. Positively take into account our differences to go further together. The experience of the World Cup this year has greatly inspired these little children who come to us “to learn how to pass the ball to each other to score the goal for common success.”
The Community of Ghardaia (Algeria)