The tree of life in Africa

Sisters Viviane Bofola and Hélène Brou, on mission respectively in Chad and Brobo, Ivory Coast, give us the essential elements and the atmosphere of the Assembly of the Africa Province which took place at the end of 2022.

The tree of life

As usual, the Africa Province met from the 26th of December 2022 to the 3rd of January 2023 in Yaoundé to share the joy of Christmas, but above all to live a time of renewal, reflection and reunion together.

The Assembly began on the evening of the 26th with an opening celebration. Chrescence Beyala, Provincial, welcomed each Sister and presented greetings from the other provinces.

We welcomed two Sisters of the General Council, Elisabeth Blanc, and Dora Cecilia Ramos, our new referent for the Province. Together with Anh, the latest addition to the Daughters of Jesus, and Sr Henriette Danet from France, they were a beautiful Christmas gift to us.

During the celebration, each one was invited to write on a drawing of a fruit, what she brought to the Province as a gift to build up our Congregational body represented by a tree.

Drawing from the source of our origins

For three days, Sr Henriette led us into the desert with the theme “Our Rule of Life in the light of the Gospel“. Different visual methods – the illustration of biblical scenes by works of art and stained-glass windows – as well as the songs and prayer texts proposed, allowed us to enter into a process of contemplation and openness to the Holy Spirit. All of this shed new light on our charism, which is still relevant today. Each day ended with the Eucharist at 6 pm, prepared in turn by a community.

A short review of the General Chapter 2022

After these three days of renewal, the Provincial Council invited the Daughters of Jesus and Associates from North and South Cameroon to board a metaphorical airplane for a day trip to discover the General Chapter.

The guide introduced us to the five entities of the Congregational Body. Along the way, the capitulants and an associate spoke about what had touched them during the General Chapter 2022: the prayer, the process used, the election procedure, the atmosphere, and the word of an associate expressing the fire that burnt in him as a member of the same family.

Finally came the much-awaited moment: the discovery and the reception of the orientations for the next six years. We know that the booklet will follow with a beautiful presentation. After a time of personal reflection followed by sharing in small groups, the assembly shared the results in common. The associates met among themselves for this time of reaction. The day of the 30th of December ended with a Eucharistic celebration during which we entrusted to God all the deceased members of our families, Congregation, Associates, friends and close relations who had left us in 2022.

On the morning of the 31st the community leaders met with Father Octave, a Claretin Missionary for a discussion around the theme: “Jesus, the perfect model of prayer for all community leaders“.

The cultural evening

The evening celebration began with a presentation by each community linked, if they wished, to their apostolic community project. It was a moment of conviviality, laughter, dancing, and immense joy.

In 2022, some of the Sisters among us changed decades: Hélène Atangana 40 years old; Marie Thérèse Banamea 50 years old and 20 years of vows; Elisabeth Monvoisin 80 years old as “the most vigorous” in the psalm; Nien 10 years of vows. Each of them received a gift from the Province to mark the anniversary.

The Province gave a gift to Sister Henriette to express our gratitude. Our Sisters of the General Council would leave with a souvenir from the Province. A beautiful basket made by CEDER (Centre d’Ecoute Des Enfants dans la Rue) in N’Gaoundéré was offered to the community of Mvolyé to thank them for all their services before, during, and after the assembly.

At midnight, we offered each other our greetings for the New Year. On Sunday 1st January 2023, the feast of Mary Mother of God, the Eucharist brought us together in the house to give thanks to the Lord and to offer Him this new year.

The future of the Congregational body

 On the 2nd of January, two other points were on the menu: vocational ministry and the groups of Associates with their programme for the year. In the afternoon, three commissions worked separately: vocations, those who accompany the Associates, and the team who work with the bursar.

Part of the last morning of the 3rd of January was reserved for the financial report for the year 2021. The bursar invited each one to be more vigilant and help facilitate her task by sending the accounts on time, as well as the prescriptions and invoices for the EMI. We also made suggestions as to how we could mark the 70th anniversary of the presence of the Daughters of Jesus in Cameroon this year.

A celebration prepared by the Provincial Council concluded the 10-day meeting with the boat containing our fruits as a symbol. Sister Dora Ramos called each community and sent them on mission with the words “Do not be afraid, cast your nets“.

To each one of you, we wish

a Good and Happy New Year 2023.

May the Lord fill you with joy,

peace, good health, and happiness.

We are united with you.

Srs Viviane Bofola et Hélène Brou djs

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