The incoming Comboni Sister Superior met with the Leadership Reporter for an interview and this is what she had to say;
Sister, can you give us a small biography of yourself:- where you were born & raised?
I was born in a small village near Padua, in northern Italy, I am the first of nine children; my mother was a housewife and my father a workman in a firm of builders. I grew up in a very happy, Christian family and I was only nineteen years old when I decided to leave them. I had an extrovert character and my family was sure I could never become a religious sister. I had started working already and I was happy that, though in a small scale I was contributing to the upbringing of my siblings, I thought I was fulfilling my duty towards them. But the Lord’s plan for me was quite different and He kept knocking at the door of my heart demanding an answer to His proposal. I had to take a decision, and I did! Painful as it was, there and then, I found the courage and the strength to say YES to the Lord’s call to become a Comboni missionary sister and from that day 3rd May 1968, I never looked back!
What was your motivation to become a nun?
I felt very clearly that only by becoming a sister, would i fulfill my dreams, as a person and as a committed Christian. I had the poor at heart and I wanted to offer myself to plead their cause.
Why did you choose the Comboni Missionary Sisters over other congregations?
I chose the Comboni Missionary Sisters over other Congregations because their charisma, inherited by the Founder Saint Daniel Comboni, was more in line with my youth enthusiasm and desires than all the others, to be “for the most needy and abandoned especially concerning the faith” had a strong impact on my spirit.
Can you describe to our readers your experience in Uganda?
I had the privilege to spend my first twenty five years of missionary life in Matany Hospital – Moroto District and as I have just shared this experience with the Christians of Matany Parish who will be celebrating their golden Jubilee in November, I love to compare my long missionary life to the unique beauty of the ‘rose of the desert’. A strong, solid shrub, growing in Karamoja, with many pink flowers, able to flourish and survive in the driest environment…many flowers…and Matany I told them, being the most beautiful one…, the one which up to date has not yet withered and its beauty has rewarded me of many hardships!!! From the People of Karamoja, I learned the true Christian values; I learned to live with the essential and go without the superfluous. I thought I went there to share my Christian Faith but the Karimojong were able to challenge my weak faith and make me understand the full meaning of St. James’ words: “faith without good deeds is useless” and therefore I was encouraged by them to work harder to produce good deeds. My second service for thirteen years, was as a Bursar for the Comboni missionary Sisters and all their various ministries in Uganda and that was also a very rewarding service as I was convinced that although indirectly, I was still working ”for the poor and most abandoned”.
What challenges have you faced in your work as a missionary working in Uganda?
As a Missionary Sister working for most of my life in the Karamoja Region, I have witnessed how much we were loved and appreciated by People but often I was assailed by a terrible doubt: are the People loving the Missionaries, for who they really are: Consecrated men and women with a specific role to fulfill in the work of evangelization through our various ministries or are they considering the Missionaries as mere agents of development? I say this because I noticed that in spite of being very close to us, they are very slow, not so eager to accept the Christian values, the implications of being true Christians, followers and disciples of Jesus Christ. Is there something we Missionaries fail to transmit to them?
Now you are the incoming Provincial Superior of the Comboni missionary sisters in Uganda, how do you feel about it?
Although I’m no longer in my youth days, I humbly gave my availability to this new service. I’m fully aware of all my inadequacy and limitations but equally confident that I’ll not be alone. All the Sisters of our Province are there and the Lord will be ahead of us, a Light and Guide to our visions and activities in the various fields of our beloved Uganda Province.
What are the priorities of your new mandate?
Our Founder, St. Daniel Comboni wanted His Missionaries to live as ‘Cenacle of Apostles. We are therefore called to continually witness the love of Christ to each other and to all the People we meet. The Apostle adds ‘let us not do it simply as a duty but gladly, because God wants it. Be an example that others can follow it’ (I Pet. 5 1:4). These words express clearly and beautifully the ambitious desire I now have for myself and for all the Comboni Sisters in Uganda. Together, let us cherish these legacies and be joyful witnesses of the love of Christ among the People we are called to serve!
What do you feel you need to put right during your term in office?
Allow me to enter into the service first, and hopefully, with God’s Grace, I’ll be able to see if there are things to be put right and surely, He will give me the courage and strength to do what is needed. Pray for me!
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