Sr. Margaret Mary recalls the great celebration that took place in Chikuni to celebrate this special year: “Sr. Jacinta and I went to celebrate the 22nd of July with the Sisters in Chikuni and the local community around. We had a wonderful celebration.
The celebration was an outdoor one. A number of Headmen and Headwomen, representatives from the Ministry of Health, Student Nurses who were doing their field experience at the Hospital, a number of lay religious organisations in the Parish, the Staff and pupils of Chikuni Girls’ Secondary School, the Hospital Staff, other Religious Sisters from various Congregations, Associates of Mary Aikenhead and all those who decided to come as the invitation was open, were there.
In short there were people from every sector of life from Chikuni mission. The mood of joy was captivating as the preparations had started the day before. Lay people were very actively involved in what was going to take place.
Bishop Moses Hamungole, was the main celebrant while Fr. Bert, S.J. and Fr. Kennedy concelebrated with him. The choir was from Chikuni Girls’ prepared by Sr. Rosemary and Patience our Postulant. They were excellent. The celebrations started off at approximately 15.30 hrs and we were all in great fear that power might go off due to the great power outages we were experiencing of late throughout the country. Our prayer was that we would have power at least during the celebrations. Guess what, we had no power cut that day!!
The Mukanzubo Cultural Group were invited so they added colour to the celebrations. They escorted the Bishop during the Entrance hymn to the altar amidst great dancing and ululation. They also led him off with the sounds of the drums, while dancing and singing at the recessional time.
From the introduction given we were celebrating and thanking God for four reasons namely:
- for the life of Mary Aikenhead who made a great difference in the lives of the poor and continues to make a difference in our world through those who live according to her Charism
- the 200 years of the foundation of our Congregation as Religious Sisters of Charity
- for Mary Aikenhead being declared this year as Venerable by our Holy Father Pope Francis
- for a great favour which was obtained for a couple in Zambia through the intercession of Venerable Mary Aikenhead. Representatives from the family and friends of this couple were present with us at this Eucharistic celebration.
The Bishop gave a very inspiring homily. Mr. Chikwa, a teacher from Chukini Girls’ and an Associate of Mary Aikenhead gave the vote of thanks after the Mass. He spoke with passion referring to Mary Aikenhead as a woman of God who loved the poor so much that she used to refer to them as God’s nobility. He went on to say that what Mary Aikenhead started to do many years ago out of love, is still being carried on by the Religious Sisters of Charity as well as the Associates of Mary Aikenhead. We were all urged to play our part in giving loving service to everyone, rich and poor alike.
After Mass we had some entertainment. Many people joined in the dancing. It was lovely to see everyone being so joyful. After this the Bishop and some invited guests went for the tour of the Hospital. By this time we were all feeling very tired and it was time to go for a beautifully prepared meal at Mukanzubo Cultural Centre. The place was beautifully laid out giving it a lovely African setting. I thought to myself, truly Mary Aikenhead has pitched her tent in Africa. Everything was very orderly though it looked as if it was the feeding of the multitudes. There was plenty for everyone and I can assure you more than “twelve baskets full of left overs” were collected that evening. In fact even the next day there was the dispensing and collection of left overs.
Great credit goes to Srs. Anne Clare, Vivien, Francisca, Rosemary, Patience, Ba Innocent and Ba Boniface who put in so much to make that day a worthy Thanksgiving Day and planning it in such a way that it became a celebration for the whole Chikuni mission. The spirit of Mary Aikenhead has benefited the entire mission through the works of the Religious Sisters of Charity throughout the years from 1948 to the present. In the locality I don’t think there is anyone who does not know about Mary Aikenhead. She is loved and appreciated. The fact that a great favour was obtained through the intercession of Mary Aikenhead for a couple in Zambia made the celebration even special this year. May the Spirit of Venerable Mary Aikenhead continue to inspire us to serve God with great hearts and willing minds. We went back to the Convent just in time to watch the Celebrations in Ireland.”