I am Elizabeth M., a second year pre-novice in Chivuna, Zambia. I would like to share some of my experiences with you. 2018 has been a year of new unfoldings. First, we pre-novices began attending the inter-novitiate programme at Kalemba Hall in Lusaka. I had a chance to meet different people, to interact and share stories of life in formation. I loved the topics: Introduction to Prayer, The Vows in the African Context, History of Religious Life. They helped me to have a deeper understanding of what is involved in Religious Life and and to grow more into whom I want to become.
The other major activity of this year was travelling to Mozambique for the Portuguese language experience. This was not easy because of the language barrier and the long bus trip (about 14 hours) from Beira to Quelimane in unbearable heat. Despite all the challenges, I experienced great joy in Quelimane–learning the language, meeting new people, getting involved in different community activities. I had a chance to harvest rice, visit the Indian Ocean, and visit the first formation house in Quelimane. What was really nice was being with three first year Mozambican pre-novices. Through this interaction and formal lessons, my Portuguese improved. I felt at home and experienced the joy of being in an international congregation.
Then I spent two weeks visiting my family. It was great to be with the people at home and they were happy to see me. I spoke all the Nyanja I wanted!
I returned to Chivuna where we enjoyed some special events. We made a pilgrimage to Sin-gonia, the Marian shrine in the Monze diocese, which was an important day for me because it was a call to prayer for our families and it opened the door for the year of the laity in Monze diocese. We also celebrated the Golden Jubilee of St Kizito Pastoral Centre, and visited different out-stations with the parish priest on Sundays where I could meet new people and interact with young women. Sr. Margaret T. visited us and shared with us about prayer. I was very touched by what she said and about the assurance of God’s love for us.
I thank God for all these different experiences because they are helping me to grow. I am now preparing to go to the Sacred Heart of Mary Novitiate in Belo Horizonte, Brazil in February 2019 where I will continue my journey.