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We Celebrate what we Believe! – Two great celebrations in Zambia

Sr. Kayula Lesa RSC reflects on two great celebrations in the Zambian Region in September.
“The 5th and 12th of September, 2009, were not ordinary days in the lives of the Sisters of Charity in the Zambian Religion. On 5th of September Sr. Liness Banda made her Final Vows in Kabwata Parish in Lusaka; while on the 12th, Sr. Anne Clare Salamo celebrated her Silver Jubilee in Sacred Heart Parish in Kabwe.

The two days were characterised by the joy expressed in the dancing to our Living God which was accompanied by our traditional songs and drums.  Those who have witnessed celebrations in Zambia would appreciate just what such days mean to both the sisters and the people that gather to celebrate with us. 

Going beyond the singing and dancing, on both occasions, the priests who gave homilies emphasised what one would express in Mother Mary Aikenhead’s words, “Serve God with a great heart and a willing mind”. I particularly would like to focus on the homily given at Sr. Anne Clare’s Jubilee.

The priest began by asking the congregation to make a summary of the sentence; “Fresh fish is sold here, true”. Initially the audience removed the words ‘is’, ‘sold’, ‘here’ and ‘true’. Therefore the remainder of the sentence was, “Fresh fish sold”. The priest still felt we could cut more words and in the end, there was no word left. But what was all this drama about? His point was that our life in God either as religious or lay people should speak even without uttering a word. He indicated that even when there is no sign that “fish is sold here”, the smell of the fish should be a sign enough to lead people to where fish is sold. He emphasised the point that it is not enough to spend many years in the convent without being a witness to God’s love.  They could be wasted years. For those who are true to their vocation, it makes a lot of sense to celebrate their life in God and their service of Him. Thus the greatest challenge for us is to reflect on what our lives as individual sisters mean to those we live within community and the people outside.

For Sr. Liness’ final vows, one striking thing was the recognition of some of the people that she felt were instrumental in shaping her life as a Christian at every stage. These included her own parents who introduced her to God, her Grade One teacher and some sisters in the Congregation. For her, nobody in life walks alone. At every stage God blesses one with key instruments to equip one on this earthly journey.

For the Zambian Region, the two occasions were a source of happiness and growth especially as they also provided the sisters with an opportunity to reflect on their lives especially as they renewed their vows together.  The two days were also an acknowledgement of the many wonderful things God does in the lives of each individual sister.

What remains however is the challenge to “serve God with a great heart and a willing mind” everyday of our lives."

Below - Sr. Anne Clare cuts her cake at her Silver Jubilee celebration.

Below - Sr. Liness Banda signs her Vows at her Final Profession.