Hope Is 9 Novices!
By Sr. Evelyn S. Jose, SSpS
I arrived here in Luanda, almost at midnight. We waited more than three hours to get my suitcase. Finally, at 3:30 a.m. we were on our way to my new house. I noticed that we were the only ones on the road. All of a sudden I heard gun shots and the sister who was driving stopped. Oh dear, I thought, this is it. When I looked back, I say a group of policemen, one was calling back. He seemed to be drunk – the others were giving us a sign to keep going. What now?” I said. My superior who was sitting beside me said, “Keep calm sister, that’s nothing. They just wanted to greet you.”
The following morning I was awakened by the noise of the people in the market beside the house. I looked out and I saw our little garden and when I opened the door, the sisters, postulants and aspirants were already waiting to sing their welcome song for me.
Out to the Provinces
The first few days were spent going around the capital and meeting the people. After a week, myself and another sister from Chile who arrived two days earlier, were invited to visit our communities in the provinces. Angola is such a beautiful country blessed with beautiful people and with rich natural resources. Many are attracted to her because of her oil and diamonds. The Angolans are very friendly. Respectful and loving. One could feel so at home right away with their welcoming smiles, with their songs and dances. I was very much touched with their loving attention and acceptance. In one of the villages, a pregnant woman approached me and told me that she’d name her child after me. I simply smiled and told her that my name is too difficult to remember. After a month, I was told that a boy was baptized and was named Evelino.
To be a Treasurer
After visiting and knowing a little about our three other communities, we went back to there regional house where we finally got our assignment. I was a bit shocked when my superior asked me to take the place of our treasurer who got very sick and was sent back to Brazil. Shocked simply because I not a treasurer and I was hoping I would be sent to the bush. Well, I’ve realized that when you are in the mission, you have to be ready for anything. I am glad I had a little experience of treasurer’s work during our formation years. And seeing the need of the region, I accepted the challenge until the real treasurer would come. And so for one and a half years I gave my best with the loving support of our general treasurer and our sisters here. Finally, our provincial in the Philippines sent the second Filipino sister who was a real treasurer.
But my joy was short-lived. I was already rejoicing, thinking that once relieved from being treasurer I could go to the province for pastoral work. I was appointed to be the firt novice mistress. Oh dear Lord! Again I needed a lot of grace, a lot of courage to accept the challenge and greater responsibilities. I started to prepare myself for the task ahead with the prayers and support of the general council and our sisters.
And so on December 8, we accepted to the novitiate the first five Angolans. Indeed, the first two years in the novitiate were very challenging, yet full of life and rich experiences. I have come to appreciate deeply my own formation and all that the sisters and the congregation had done for me. At present we are blessed with nine novices (four in the first year and five in the second year), one postulant and eight aspirants and a number of candidates. Soon we’ll have the first profession of the Angolan SSpS. We can only praise and thank Triune God for the bountiful blessings He has given us the people of Angola.
“War-torn Angola has its quite spots. In one of these, young Angolan women make their vows for a lifetime commitment to Christ.”