A residence unlike the others

 

The Daughters of Jesus in Soa, 14 km north-east of Yaoundé, Cameroon, had a double reason to celebrate this year: to give thanks for the 10 years of foundation of the university residence, Our Lady of Africa, and to thank Sister Ruthina Francis, Director, called for another mission.

 

The university residence, Our lady of Africa, in Soa celebrated a double event on September 6, 2020: the tenth anniversary of its foundation and the departure of the Director Sr Ruthina Francis. All this took place around a Mass of thanksgiving, followed by testimonies from old and new students and a good festive meal. It was an exceptional celebration!

 

les batiments du foyer d'étudiants

 

 

 

 

A residence unlike the others

 

 

 

The residence has touched the lives of more than 500 young people since its inception. The central focus is on helping young people to “live together”, young people:

 

  • from several nationalities – Cameroonian, Congolese, Central African, Gabonese, Guinean, Chadian, French.
  • of different religions – Muslim, Protestant, Catholic.
  • with a cultural and linguistic richness – English, French, Arabic, various dialects.

 

The students all live under the same roof and cook in the same kitchen as brothers and sisters of the same family. It is this “family” aspect that the Residence reflects, unlike other surrounding complexes where students live.

 

 

 

The cultural diversity which characterises the home has not been acquired, however, without conflicts arising from differences of culture, identity, ethnicity, and tribe. These sensitive elements sometimes challenge the fraternity of this “living together”, hence the heavy task of the person in charge of the residence. She plays the role of a mother who seeks the happiness of her children above all.

 

A home where we live in fraternity

 

Sr Ruthina Francis avecle cadeau d'une peinture qu'on lui a offert

Faced with this plurality and multiculturalism, the “mother” of the residence has sought, through her creativity, to find and develop spaces for sharing, for personal encounters between residents, for mutual understanding, reconciliation, and acceptance of difference. All of this so that the students of the residence can feel free and equal, without distinction.

 

Une mère africaine offrant le sein à son bébé

 

It is a permanent quest to build fraternity in the spirit of the Gospel. This is done through listening, maternal affection, dialogue, and closeness to the young people, taking into account each one as he or she is, rather than through violence and rigidity of heart.

 

 

 

This quest also implies that the person in charge of the residence make an effort to get to know the different cultures of the African continent in order to better understand these young people. It means serving these young people, supporting them in their sorrows and pains, and celebrating moments of joy with them for a better “living together”. For me, it has been a way of living the charism of the Daughters of Jesus “to honour the Sacred Humanity of the Son of God”, (Rule of Life no 3) by honouring that of these young people in order to make them responsible men and women of tomorrow.

 

Some testimonials

 

The residence wanted our good and was always concerned about the future of the young people. We are and will become responsible residents.” (Maxime, former resident)

 

“We promote living together, development and multiculturalism. Love has brought us together in the residence despite our differences, the home has structured me.” (Allan, current resident)

 

“The residence resembles a family home. My children have found a home and a big family in the residence.” (Céline, mother of two residents)

 

 

 

 

“We are asked…to recognise

and celebrate Jesus Christ

living among us today.”

(Rule of Life n° 18)

 

Sr Ruthina Francis dj

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