The Charism of the Daughters of Mary (Bannabikira) sisters, Bwanda is to emulate the motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Serving God’s people with maternal love. This inspired Sr. Amedeo Byabali who loved God with all her heart to follow in the footsteps of Mother Mary. She was a religious nun of the order of the Daughters of Mary Sisters, Bwanda in Masaka who served people with a simple, humble and charitable heart.
Sr. Amedeo who gave herself unreservedly to work for the salvation of her brothers and sisters will soon be declared a saint. A number of people have testified about miracles they have received through her intercession; Rome now wants one more miracle before she is declared a saint. Should she be declared a saint, Sr. Amedeo will be the first known Ugandan female saint. On October 12th, 2011, Rome made her The Servant of God; On March 31st, 2012, her remains were exhumed and placed in the chapel at the Mother house at Bwanda and at Our Lady of Sorrows Cathedral – Kitovu in Masaka Diocese.
Theological, Historical and Court Special commissions were formed on April 03rd, 2012 to deal with the cause of her beatification. It was opened under the leadership of Dr. Waldery Hilgeman as a Postulator and Brother Cruz Reginald D, Vice Postulator. To speed the process of her beatification, the investigations on the miracles performed through her intercession are ongoing, and people who feel that they have received favours and miracles through the intercession of Sr. Amedeo Byabali were requested to contact the special committee to be interviewed by this court.
Sr. Annette Mary Nabisere, the secretary in Sr. Amedeo’s Beatification office said it all started from Mt. Zion Prayer centre Bukalango! This is where the first known miracle associated to Sr. Amedeo was recorded. A Christian who was looking for a healing miracle visited the prayer centre, her name was Nambasa Maria. She had a bad skin disease which had failed to heal for a long time even with the many visits she had made to different hospitals.
Nambasa met Msgr Expedito Magembe who advised her to visit the grave of Sr. Amedeo to pray for healing. Nambasa visited Sr. Amedeo’s former home at the daughters of Mary sisters Bwanda in Masaka, where her grave is. After explaining to the sisters what Monsignor Magembe had told her to do, she was taken to the cemetery amongst hundreds of graves and showed Sr. Amedeo’s grave. She prayed for healing and stayed at Bwanda for three days. After the three days’ prayer, her illness had cured and her skin was smooth once again with no sign of illness. She was so excited and returned to Msrg Magembe to give her testimony.
To honour and show her gratitude to Sr. Amedeo, Nambasa built a school in Kampala in memory of Sr. Amedeo. Msgr Magembe continued to tell people who visited Mt. Zion Prayer Centre about the miracles performed through the intercession of Sr. Amedeo. He often told the pilgrims to always ask Sr. Amedeo to intercede for them in their problems. Sr. Annette Mary said they are looking forward to a second miracle after Nambasa’s which will help speed the beatification of Sr. Amedeo. She said Rome wants another miracle before they can complete the beatification of Sr. Amedeo and made a saint.
She added that they have recorded over 50 miracles from different people about miracles they get with the intercession of Sr. Amedeo, but most of them are financial breakthroughs. She also explained that there are other testimonies from different people although they have failed to get proof of the miracles, making it difficult to send such testimonies to Rome.
Sr. Annette noted that in order for them to take the testimonies serious, one has to get confirmation from his/her Parish Priest and also witness confirmation from the local people. Apart from Nambasa, she says they have not yet received another person bringing them a testimony confirmed by a Parish Priest. People from around and outside Masaka have a lot of faith in Sr. Amedeo’s intercession and the convent keeps receiving pilgrims from different districts visiting her grave to pray for her intercession for miracles. Sr. Annette said some even lay on the grave for long hours. She revealed that when these pilgrims return to their homes, they send other people. These pilgrims she observed at the end return to give testimonies.
Sr. Annette said that although Sr. Amedeo’s birth place in Bunyoro is one of the areas battling with poverty in Uganda, God has used her to help people because of her remarkable traits. Francesca Byabali or Sr. Amedeo as she is fondly known was born in 1908 to Mr. Byenkya Venansius and Mary Nyakato. They were residents of Kibanga village, Buyaga Sub-County, Kahunde Parish in Hoima diocese. She was born to a family of six children; four girls and two boys.
At fourteen, her parents offered her to Archbishop of Masaka H.E. Henry Streitcher for religious formation during his pastoral visit at Bujuni Parish in 1923. The Archbishop took her to the Parish Priest Fr. Pere Susu who handed her over to Sr. Concepta at Bujuni convent. The Archbishop instructed Sr. Concepta to take care of the girl until she grew up, then she would take her to Daughters of Mary Sisters in Bwanda. In 1926, Sr. Amedeo was taken to the Archbishop at Villa Maria in Masaka. He then handed her over to Sr. Mechtilde who was the founder of the Daughters of Mary Sisters and later she was presented to mother General, Sr. Ursula who took her to Sr. Resty in Bwanda Convent.
At Bwanda convent, Byabali and a few other girls were taken to class while also doing other chores at the convent. In 1928, Byabali was prepared for religious life and she made her first vows in 1930. After her first vows, she was taken to Bunyaruguru Convent in 1930, then in 1931, she was moved to Butiti convent where she stayed for four years. In 1935, she was assigned to a convent in her home diocese of Hoima where she served for other four years before returning to Mother house in Bwanda in 1939, the same year. She was transferred to Ibanda Convent and before the end of the year; she was again assigned to Kitabi seminary where she spent seven years.
In 1950, Sr. Amedeo was assigned to Kabaale Parish where she founded an association of Mary of Fatima. She lived in Kabaale for four years then in 1954, she was taken to Bwanda Sanatorium. In 1961, she was taken to Villa Maria convent and in 1963, she was moved to Vvumba convent. She lived in Vvumba for fourteen years and in 1977, Sr. Amedeo was moved back to Bwanda mother house where she lived till her death. In 1979, she breathed her last.
Mother Mary Vincent who was the Superior General in 1953 during the time of Sr. Amedeo said Sr. Amedeo was an exemplary religious in every way. She said in her daily life, Sr. Amedeo always strove to live up to the obligations of true Christianity as well as the requirements of the constitution and rules of the congregation of the Daughters of Mary sisters to which she belonged.
Mother Vincent added that Sr. Amedeo had a strong faith which helped her to keep calm and peaceful under any situation. She noted that she also kept humble and meek and was a very prayerful woman. The Superior General said people in Sr. Amedeo’s company were inevitably influenced by her permanent attitude of meaningfulness and purpose of life aimed at a definite goal. She added that Sr. Amedoe was seen to live what she used to preach in words.
By Irene Lamunu
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