In the photo the aspirants with Sr Helene on the left and Sr Anociata on the right
Here is the report of a three-day session for aspirants in Kinshasa.
There were four aspirants, three of whom will be presented to begin their pre-postulancy in Goma. This session brought a lot of joy to the aspirants and to us sisters because the aspirants participated actively during the session. We are grateful to our sister Hélène Kavula who accepted to animate this meeting during her home leave. For this session, we chose the theme of “discernment” in order to help our candidates discern their vocation better, before making the decision to put everything in God’s hands by handing over their documents to be studied before admission or a re-orientation.
We began the session with some time for getting to know each other: we stood in a circle in our television room and each sister and aspirant introduced herself freely. On the second day, we started the day with a Eucharistic celebration in the parish followed by Morning Prayer. We took time to sensitise our candidates to the question of health, explaining why we ask them to have a medical exam. This was to prepare them to face possible results that might cause a shock if some sickness had been discovered, because we had an experience where the family had refused to accept the result of their daughter’s medical exam, saying that she had never been ill.
We shared with the aspirants the story of the vocations of Cardinal Charles Lavigerie and Mother Marie Salomé as well as some persons in the Bible such as Moses, Elijah and Abraham.
Here we emphasised the word discernment. We explained to the aspirants that in order to better discern one’s vocation, it is necessary to ask oneself some questions such as: what fire is burning within me? What do I want to live? What are my motivations? And we explained to them how important it is to be accompanied by a trusted person.
We also explored the history of our congregation, its origins, its charism and its four apostolic orientations.
Listening to all this, the aspirants were very amazed at the evolution of our congregation and recognised the great role that Mother Marie Salomé played in the congregation. They asked us why we consider her as a co-foundress even though she was only our first superior general. To make it easier for them to understand, we used the image of fire, saying that Lavigerie lit the fire and Mother Marie Salomé added wood to it continuously and it is thanks to her and the presence of the Holy Spirit that the congregation exists today.
To encourage them in their discernment, Sr. Helene shared her vocation story and they were happy and touched by it. We ended the meeting with a Eucharistic celebration in our chapel presided over by Fr. Andrew (Missionaries of Africa) who is formator at the M.Afr theologate and responsible for AMV.
Taking advantage of the feast day of the Baptism of the Lord, he invited us, especially the aspirants, to live our Christian values by witnessing to the Christ we seek and follow. He helped the aspirants become more aware that our world today is very complicated and has many “anti-values” and we find many who do everything to prevent or discourage those who want to follow Christ by making fun of them. He encouraged the aspirants to hold firmly to the call they have heard.
Sr. Anosiata Kaneema, Kinshasa, D.R. Congo