On 22-29 October 2014, Major Superiors, Formators, and Treasurers of African countries: Tanzania, Rwanda / Congo, Cameroon, South Africa; and India, met for an Assembly in Cape Town, South Africa, convened by Sr. Izabela Świerad, Superior General, and General Councilors Srs. Josephina D'Souza and Stella Holisz.
We gathered together to discern our direction in the present realities of our Congregation, where communities in Europe are decreasing, and in African and Asian countries are growing. How to pass on the burning torch of Divine Love of St. Vincent Pallotti?
We began by listening to the history of the mission of the Pallottine Misionary Sisters in South Africa, presented by Sr. Boscona Schämann. Its beginning dates from 1923. Despite limitations from the state, because of the influence of Apartheid, the Sisters have served with great dedication the children and the sick in five dioceses. The Sisters experienced the joy of creating and development, but later they experienced the sadness and difficulty of closing the houses and works. Many of them, rest in the cemetery in Cape Town.
Basically our debates, reflections, discussions, and community discernment focused on the issues of formation on the African continent, and the possibilities of support for the South African Province. All together, united in spirit and charism, we looked for ways to establish an International Novitiate for Africa, and the international communities.
The meeting ended with a summary and a message by the Superior General, Sr. Izabela Świerad. All unanimously saw clearly that for the future of the South African Province lies is an are international community; we noticed that Africa gives life. Our Sisters from Tanzania and India are becoming missionaries. Our hopes are awakening vocations in Malawi and other African countries.
We met the most Rev. Archbishop of Cape Town, Stephen Brislin, President of the Episcopal Conference of South Africa, who presented us with the history of South Africa, consequences of Apartheid which are noticeable in society today; as well as the call of Catholic Church in this complex and complicated situation, which still needs healing and reconciliation. Nevertheless, as emphasized by the Archbishop, we should like to continue to be faithful witnesses of Christ’s Gospel, and look to the future with hope.
We are strengthened by this new rich experience of the first historic meeting in South Africa. We want to undertake new calls, with courage and hope, and we open ourselves to the new breath of God's Spirit. We also discovered the beauty of this country. Every day from the windows of our house, we admired the top of Table Mountain, and on Sunday morning our group travelled to the Cape of Good Hope, where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic Ocean. We admired the wonders of Nature, praising the greatness and power of the Creator.
Sr. Anna Kot, SAC
Missionary from Cameroon