The 23rd of October 2011 was an ‘official date of welcoming’ for the three pioneer sisters in Konzalendo, Malawi. Here Sr Maria Shawa recounts the rapturous welcome they received:
“As the day grew near there was great excitement in Konzalendo – the women in the village were all over the place preparing food for the occasion.
For the three of us (Srs Maria Shawa, Rosemary Ng’andu and Mary Balogun) we were also excited looking forward for the coming of our four visitors from Zambia – Srs Kieran, Madeleine, Christine and Nancy who were to be at this celebration. The atmosphere everywhere was that of celebration.
When the Bishop came, he greeted us and he blessed the house before Mass. The Bishop concelebrated with Fr. Augustine who is our non-resident parish priest. Also present were the Bishop’s secretary Fr. Mayeso who has been very helpful to us. This was our first Mass in Konzalendo.
Christians from different denominations also came to the occasion, as well as Chiefs, Headmen and women, our Member of Parliament for the area and people from the 13 out stations of Konzalendo.
There was great joy, singing and dancing throughout the ceremony. People generously gave us a lot of gifts – anything they thought would be useful to us.
During Mass the three of us were called in front and dressed in a chitenge, the same design as all the women were wearing and which had been designed especially for the occasion. The Mass lasted for five hours.
After Mass, the Bishop, priests, sisters, our MP the chiefs, headmen/women and catechists had a meal at the convent while the rest of the people went to the hall where the food was prepared for them.
For the first time the tabernacle in the Church was opened and the Blessed Sacrament reserved after 37 years of absence. This brought great joy to us and the people to have the Blessed Sacrament in the church.
We distributed some of our gifts to the bishop, priests, sisters and to some of our parishioners.”