The year 2015 marks exactly 200 years since Mother Mary Aikenhead founded the Religious Sisters of Charity; her followers all over the world celebrate this bicentenary with the continuation of her good works. The Religious Sisters of Charity (Kabwata Convent, Zambia) celebrated this special feast by organising a visit to Lusaka Central prison with their Associates.
Following Mary Aikenhead’s example, who visited and gave comfort to female prisoners, the five Religious Sisters and seven Associates came together to plan for the visit to the female prisoners.
On 15th September, 2015 the Associates and Sisters started preparing food for the prisoners. At exactly 14:00 hrs, these twelve followers of Mary Aikenhead drove to the prison.
On arrival, seventy-five female prisoners welcomed the Sisters and Associates with a song and bright faces. After they all were settled the local leader at Kabwata Convent – Sr. Emma Chakupalesa addressed the group, telling them about Mary Aikenhead’s good works, how she founded the Religious Sisters of Charity 200 years ago, henceforth, continuing her works through the congregation.
Fortunately, the female prisoners are well aware of the Congregation as two accommodation blocks of their prison were built by the Congregation. After introductions, the Associates and Sisters of Charity gave the seventy five prisoners food to their satisfaction. The food thanks to Divine Providence was a lot, what was left was then, with help of the Associates, given to male prisoners - mostly those who were sick. The female prisoners thanked the Religious Sisters of Charity for not neglecting them on such a special day and asked that they would come again and celebrate Mass with them.
The Sisters of Charity and Associates then went to see the male prisoners requesting especially for the sick as the remaining food couldn’t cater for all.
The Religious Sisters of Charity visited these sick male prisoners and offered comfort, after which the Associates gave a total of more than one hundred and ten male prisoners food of which eighty were sick.
The prisoners were quite happy to receive the unexpected provisions and visit but like the story of Jesus healing the ten lepers only one turned and said “thank you to the Sisters”. At 16:00 hours the Sisters and Associates left the Lusaka Central Prison.
We thank God, the Divine Provider for the effort of the Associates and for the provisions, as well as Mother Mary Aikenhead for inspiring the good works.
HAPPY BI-CENTENARY Sisters.
Written by: Stephanie Banda (an Aspirant)