ECHO OF THE VOCATIONAL AWAKENING
Vocational awakening is part of the mission of the Daughters of Wisdom in the DRC. A sister is appointed coordinator of the activities of the awakening at the level of the Delegation. She collaborates closely with each person in charge of awakening appointed in the community. We have the same objective:
“To make the Congregation known to young girls who wish to become religious”.
However, it is left to each person in charge to concretize this objective according to the reality of the milieu. Usually, the sisters are creative in the way they present the Congregation, by presenting our charism, our mission and our works.
Like everywhere else in the Congo, religious life no longer seems to be an ideal that attracts many young girls today. We count on the fact that young people in general remain committed to our churches and among them, some decide to become religious. For this, we are present in the youth groups and movements in the parishes and in the schools; it is there that we meet them and try to accompany them in the discovery of their vocation to religious life.
Here are two testimonies from Daughters of Wisdom responsible for the awakening in their community:
At the Jesus-Wisdom/Yanonge community:
“I am sister Marie-Magdeleine KYAKIMWA, Daughter of Wisdom for 3 years. I accompany the young aspirants at the parish level. This mission gives me joy in spite of the challenges encountered. I marvel at the way the Lord reaches out to each young person in his or her reality by putting in their hearts the desire to follow him or her into religious or priestly life. And each one, in his or her own way, collaborates in this work of God and seeks to discover his or her vocation to the religious life through my accompaniment at their side.
Some young people join the vocation group without being baptized. In this case, I accompany them first by doing the catechesis for baptism.
Others talk about their desire for religious life but are afraid of the negative view that people have of religious life.
These young people need to be encouraged. Others, on the other hand, are open about their vocation to the consecrated life, but they also become discouraged when they see some people already committed to religious life being dismissed from a congregation.
They see this as a failure and are afraid that it will happen to them as well. One of the major challenges in our milieu is the low quality of schools. Young people do not always have the level of education required to undertake formation for priesthood and religious life.
For this reason, in addition to the spiritual activities planned for the group (recollections, sharing the Word of God…) I initiated the French course to help the young people improve their level of French.
I thank the Lord who continues to call young people to follow him; may he help them grow in their vocation.”
At the community of Our Lady of Wisdom: Sister Alphonsine MANDILI, 2 years of religious life as a Daughter of Wisdom; she is responsible for vocational awakening in Isangi.
“Young people attract young people… I notice that being a young religious, I am close to young people through the mission of vocational awakening. Several activities are aimed at the youth of our parish in order to engage them in the service of their neighbor. To achieve this, I really try to understand their mentality by remaining open and welcoming. In order to be close to them, I try to adopt their language and thus support those who feel attracted by religious life.
I admit that at the beginning I did not know how to do this, I received support from my community leader.
It all started with a small choir for the parish mass on Saturday. I started with 4 young people who led the songs of the mass with me. Gradually the number increased and the choir made a good animation of the Saturday morning mass and the more the participation of the faithful in this week mass was remarkable.
Another place where I am connected with the youth is in the parish group called Kizito-Anuarite, a movement of young Catholics who are inspired by the Christian virtues of Kizito, one of the youngest of the martyrs of Uganda, and Anuarite, a young Congolese nun who was a martyr for purity. The Kizito-Anuarite group is present in all the dioceses of our country. And it is a nursery of vocations to religious and priestly life.
Here are some of the activities that I do with the young people: monthly recollections nourished by the meditation of the Word of God around the different calls in the Bible. The days of recollections that end with the celebration of the Eucharist are animated by the young people and their parents are present at this mass.
I visit the families of the young aspirants and talk with them about the meaning of their daughter’s religious life project. I send the leaflets presenting our congregation to the parish priests of distant parishes and I keep in touch with the young people of the distant villages by telephone, WhasApp…
Vocation ministry is close to my heart, I give the best of myself because I realize the work that my formators have done with me to love and consolidate my vocation to religious life. I would like to do this for others as well.
Father de Montfort‘s invitation to Mother Marie-Louise at the Little Plessis:
“See my daughter, this hen who has her chicks under her wings… with what care she takes of them… this is how you must do…”
This invitation motivates me to take care of the young people who are searching for their vocation.
Together, let us pray to the Lord to send workers into his harvest.
Sr. Valérie Mboma Sona, fdls,
Coordinator of Vocational Awakening / DRC