Where have People have to Pray
By: Sr. Priscila Andaya D.C.
I am one of the ninety seven Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul missioned here in the province of Zaire- Congo. Let me explain. Since we are only twelve sisters working in Congo, we cannot be a province yet, so we depend to the Province of Zaire, hence, we call our province, Province of Zaire-Congo. Ours is an international mission of Sisters from the twelve different nationalities. I’m the only Filipino here in Congo. Before my assignment in Congo I worked twelve years in Zaire.
Not Easy to Change
I arrived in Zaire last April 1979, and the first thing I had to do was to learn LINGALA, one of the common languages in Zaire. With God’s help and a lot of effort on my part I was able to speak it fluently in three month’s time.
Twelve Long Years
I remember that day when I had to change my mission, to leave Zaire and go to Brazzaville, the capital city of Congo. That was February 1991. it was not so easy for me to say “yes” because the country, the good Zarois people and my work had already after twelve long years of joyful service become dear to be.
I was sent there in Brazzaville to work full time in the Parish of JESUS RESSURECTED. I teach catechism three days in the parish and two days at the Military Camp to the children of our native soldiers. The medium of instruction is in French, and the children begin their catechism at the age of nine. By this time they could already speak, read and write simple French. The native language spoken here is Lari which I haven’t learned yet since most Congolese people speak Lingala, I don’t have any problem in communicating with people.
I was also asked to take charge of the formation of catechists teaching catechism. Last year 1992-1993, we have catechized 1,500 children in our Parish.
The People Love to Pray
Our Parish is a big one, about 40,000 inhabitants and 80% are Catholics. Our people here love to pray, in fact there are twenty two different groups of prayer organized here in our parish, each group has its day and hours of prayer. One of these groups is the legion of Mary with one hundred ten women and men members, I was asked again to be their spiritual directress. Since there are seven Praesidia I try to attend the meeting of each praesidium once a week. All these activities are time consuming and need a lot of preparation, but I still find time to visit and bring food to fifteen poor old people in the slum areas, I do it two times a week.
Three Mission Posts
Here in Congo we have three mission posts: in Epena, way to the north where there are three Daughters of Charity; in Mbanza-Nganga, way to the south where there are three Sisters; and in Brazzaville, the capital of Congo, there are six different countries: France, Belgium, USA, Spain, Zaire and Philippines.
Diversity of Nationalities
In the community we speak French as well as Lari and Lingala to the natives. Inspite of our diversity in nationality, we try to accept one another, respect and love each other with the help of God’s grace. At home we take turns in cooking and I was given two days ‘in’ a week, and do some driving when I am needed.
Firm in their Faith
Please remember all of us missionaries in your prayers. Pray for our mission countries Zaire and Congo and all other African countries suffering poor people that they remain firm in their faith. We are keeping you all in our daily encounters with the Lord, both in the Eucharist and in the people whom He gives us to love and serve.