In this article Sr Pat Kenny shares her Jubilee story and celebrations with us… “October 6th 2019 – the day finally arrived – 50 years to the day I entered the Religious Sisters of Charity in Milltown in 1969. Where have those years gone to?
While I personally remember that big day as a 22 year old – this day was shared with two other Sisters, Sr. Yolanthe Mwiila and Sr. Margaret Mary Chileshe who entered in that same year. We go back a long way. In 1976 when I first arrived in Zambia we were, what was known as the ‘Junior Professed’ and so shared the same formation programme with Sr. Madeliene Kelly RIP as our ‘Junior Mistress’.
The three of us had already celebrated our Jubilees individually with our families – Yolanthe in Chikuni earlier in April – myself in Birkenhead and Hackney while on home leave in July/August and Margaret Mary in Kabwata later in August. Each occasion was an expression of our individual family’s love and support for us throughout our vocations. One of my nephews, who was very young when I entered, when asked if he would attend, said “Why wouldn’t I, – I was there at the beginning of all this, you know!”
The days leading up to 6th October were ones of frenzied activity as preparations got underway. Sr. Marianne and our communities took their share in shopping, decorating and choir practices! In the meantime, Yolanthe had knee surgery and was determined to be there on the day – and on her feet!
Our liturgy was blest with the presence of priest friends – Fr Leonard Namuhumba was main celebrant with Frs. Michael Kelly SJ, Fr. Charlie Searson SJ and Fr. Tadeusz Swiderski SJ to assist. The readings were personal to each of us and carried much meaning. The choice of hymns – reminiscent of our earlier years, were seen as a bit old-fashioned by some, but, nevertheless, enjoyable and the Roma chapel rang with the singing, drumming and dancing – for one of us, a first attempt in public!
We had invited Sisters from the local area to celebrate with us and were delighted to welcome the Handmaids of the BVM, one of whom was Sr. Celine, Yolanthe’s aunt, Daughters of the Redeemer, Good Shepherd Sisters, RSHMs, FMDMs and a Holy Rosary Sister. This is a year of Jubilee and must be shared!
As with every RSC ‘do’, the meal that followed went down a treat with a Braai (barbecue) followed by tasty deserts and Sr. Cecilia Mulenga’s famous cake fed regularly over the previous weeks to preserve it! Once again the room was filled with the sound of drumming and dancing – both Zambian and Nigerian – but for those of us advancing in age – we just couldn’t keep up with the young ones!
It was truly a great day! Thanks to everyone for making it possible.
“The Lord has done great things for us. Holy is His Name”.”