Saturday, 27 August 2016 21:46

Maryknoll Affiliates in Tanzania

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Bertha Haas – Returned Maryknoll Lay Missioner, Portland Chapter 

Costansia Mbgoma hosted a gathering of the Maryknoll Affiliates of Mwanza, Tanzania at her home this July. US Affiliates may remember Costansia from the conferences she has attended and her time in San Francisco. 

Six Mwanza Affiliates shared scripture reflections,  food, and fellowship with guests Maryknoll Sister Celeste, Portland Affiliate Bertha Haas, and a Maryknoll Sisters candidate. Many of the Mwanza Affiliates are former students of the Maryknoll Sisters at Rosary College. They stay connected to the Sisters and their fellow students as a means of retaining their Maryknoll ideals and values in a society that often doesn’t share them. They attract many younger members, including men, who are attracted by Maryknoll spirituality and are called to see social needs and respond.

Bertha presented the Affiliates pens and rose lapel pins from the Portland Affiliates as symbols of our unity and good wishes. Some of the Portland Affiliates also met the Mwanza Affiliates when they visited the Huruma School, which Bertha founded in Mwanza in 2004. In exchange, the Mwanza Affiliates gifted Portland Affiliates with coin purses sewn by women in their micro finance groups. A couple of the Mwanza Affiliates expressed an interest in taking leadership roles at the Huruma School.

One of the charter members of the Mwanza Affiliates, Agnes Medard, generously shared with Bertha the importance of Affiliate membership in her life. Mrs. Medard is the Head Mistress of St Joseph Seminary for Girls in Mwanza. The Seminary was founded in 1994 by Archbishop Mayala to train lay-women leaders for the Church, women who will spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. (See also NSFA Jan/Feb 2015) Medard has been Head Mistress since its founding. Forms 1-4 are the equivalent of our secondary school. Students who complete Forms 5-6 enter university as sophomores. 

Medard was the emcee for the 2012 Maryknoll Sisters’ Anniversary Celebration in Mwanza, an event attended by more than 200 friends and supporters. She says she maintains her membership in the Affiliates because it keeps her involved with others who share the Maryknoll charism of loving, caring service, and prayer. To stay young and engaged, she joins her former classmates in singing and reminiscing. Imbuing her students with a commitment to the dignity of each person is a continuous challenge in her work. To this end she encourages students to get involved with students at Huruma School for the Disabled. 

Read 792 times Last modified on Saturday, 27 August 2016 21:54
Login to post comments