The Dominican Nuns in Africa held their three-yearly meeting in Douala

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Dominican Nuns in Africa
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The Prioresses and delegates of the Union of Monasteries of Africa of the Order of Preachers, (UMAOP) held their three-yearly Meeting from the 23rd to 30th of Sept 2016, at the Monastery of the Rosary and St. Dominic, Douala (Cameroon). The participants were drawn from the Monasteries of Karen (Kenya), Rwenza (Burundi), Kabwe (Zambia), Bambui (Cameroon), Douala (Cameroon) and the Adoration Sisters of Ilorin (Nigeria). Also present were, the Promoter General of the Nuns, Fr. Valero Cesar, as well as the Socius of the Master of the Order for Africa, Fr. Gabriel Samba. Friar Bertrand Ndjana Tsanga, of the Vicariate of Equatorial Africa, did an excellent job as translator during the meeting.

While waiting for frs. Valero and Gabriel, who arrived on September 24th and 25th, respectively, the nuns reflected together on the recent Apostolic Constitution “Vultum Dei Quaerere on women’s contemplative life” of Pope Francis. The meeting officially opened on September 25th, with a welcome address by the Coordinator and representative of UMAOP, Sr. Marie Juliette Kilanir. Sister then proceeded to brief the participants on some happenings since her appointment as Coordinator of the Region in March 2013 by the Master of the Order, fr. Bruno Cadoré; also noting some challenges the Region is facing. Apart from the yearly meetings of the International Commission of Nuns, (ICN) she was invited for the General Assembly of Inter-Africa (IAOP), in 2014 in Nairobi (Kenya). In 2015, by request of the Master, she visited the Adoration Sisters of Ilorin, Nigeria, who are in the process of being integrated into the Order. She also attended the General Chapter of Bologna, last July.

Before going on to the reports of the Monasteries, the Promoter explained some realities about our Monasteries and their manner of being autonomous. Dominic never meant autonomy, Father asserted, to make the Monasteries into Inlands living side by side but like glasses in communication. So the Promotor invited us to develop strong a fraternal communion. Among other things, we reflected on the following aspects of our life, during this meeting: Vocations, formation – initial and ongoing, the document on formation by the ICN, and some means of raising funds for the functioning of UMAOP. In order to better follow up our resolutions and deal with urgent matters diligently, we set up a small committee consists of Sr. Marie Juliette Kilanir, the Coordinator, as President, Sr. Mary Martin, the bursar, (Kenya) and Sr. Therese Claire, the secretary (Cameroon), as members. The committee has been also given the task of drafting some elements for the functioning of UMAOP. We also discussed for a long time about the evaluation of the project of the monastery of Senekal (South Africa) which was entrusted with the Region of Africa under the responsibility of the monastery of Karen, and relocated now in Zambia. Moreover, Sr. Joyce Rita was appointed as the archivist of the region. Her task is to gather the archives of UMAOP scattered in different monasteries and organize them in the new monastery of Kabwe. Finally, the sisters were encouraged to communicate and write articles in Monialibus.

For practical purposes the nuns had decided to insert the celebration of the Jubilee of 800 years of the Confirmation of the Order of Preachers into the agenda of the meeting. Thus on September 29th, we began the day with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, followed by a reflection on the Jubilee of the Order, facilitated by fr. Gabriel Samba. His reflection reminded us of the theme of the Jubilee, as highlighted by the General Chapter of Trogir, “Sent to Preach the Gospel” , with the following questions : “By whom are we sent? To whom are we sent? With whom are we sent? What do we bring with us in being sent?” fr. Gabriel reminded us also the twofold orientation and twofold approach of the Jubilee. The jubilee Mass was presided over by fr. Valero. Present for the Mass were friars from Yaounde, and Douala, some Lay Dominicans, Dominican Youths and friends of the hosting community. The next meeting of UMAOP will take place in 2019 at the monastery of Kabwe, Zambia.

Sr. Therese Claire, op.

 

(17 October 2016)