Having lived and served in Zambia for 46 years, Sr Christina O’Brien recently returned on the occasion of the Region’s 70th Anniversary to say Good Bye to the sisters and people she lived and worked with. In this article Sr Christina shares her experience.
“The sisters in Zambia had arranged to celebrate the 70 years of the arrival of the first three Sisters in Zambia in 1948. To my surprise I was invited by Sr. Marianne Doherty to be present for the celebrations. I had come home to Ireland in Dec 2016 with a broken ankle and had no time to say good bye to anyone. This was a golden opportunity to return and celebrate with the Sisters.
I travelled to Lusaka on 4th April a few days before the celebration and got a great welcome from the sisters and local people. On Friday afternoon sisters arrived from Mulanga, Ndola, Kabwe and Chikuni. The sisters from the other houses arrived in time for 10.00. hours Mass next morning the 7th April. . Fr. Jim. McGlion S J was the chief Celebrant and Frs. Michael Kelly SJ and Charles Searson SJ, Fr. Dave Larkin and Fr. C. Moriarty concelebrated at the Mass. Some sisters from other congregation joined with us. The singing and liturgical dances performed by the sisters and Novices were beautifully arranged. by the sisters choir. Sr. Geraldine Hamukale the Novices Director preached the homily and gave a history of the doings of the past 70 years.
At the end of Mass Sr. Marianne informed us that she had something to share with us. During Mass a letter was handed in from the Archbishops Office. In 2017 Zambia had celebrated 150 years of Christianity and some people had been honoured. Mother Joseph Helen in posthumous had received a Medal for her work in Zambia for many years. Today Sr. Mary Catherine Chileshe (senior) was presented with a Certificate of Recognition for her work with community school and to my surprise I received a Certificate of Recognition for the valuable Contribution made towards the growth of the Catholic Church in Zambia.
My first appointment was in Chikuni/Fumbo Parishes in 1972 later in Namwala, Nakambala, Maamba, Mulanga and Lusaka, where I worked with Women’s Clubs in the villages. Empowering them with basic skills, sewing knitting, cookery and home making skills, vegetable gardens to help improve their diet, training them to have more confidence in themselves as providers for their families. Looking back over the years I can see that the women can now take the responsibility for developing their lives. It was sad to leave Zambia and say Good Bye but I feel the time has come.”
Mary Aikenhead wrote on 26th September
“Let each of us be faithful in accomplishing our respective duties towards Him, our neighbour and ourselves, and be ready to lay aside our active labours when He so wills.”
If you would like to watch the video of the 70th Anniversary Mass please click HERE. The presentation to Sr Christina can be found at 1:06:33.