Blessing of the YAKA YAKA House
On January 6th, 2013, following the star, Sisters Tessy and Agnes left Dakar, and set off in the direction Brazzaville (Congo).
A long road, full of twists and turns, lay ahead. It looked as though it was going to be difficult to clear the ground where the Community of the Sisters of St Joseph was to be established, so that it could be spotted from the road.
Several steps had to be taken before the establishment of the Community on April 17th, 2015. (See the appended letter from the Superior General).
We can only admire the courage and tenacity of our two pioneer Sisters. Sister Ailbe had also joined them on January, 7th, 2015.
The date for the inauguration and blessing of the house had been fixed for April 17th, 2015. The Sisters arrived there on March 18th, giving them time to prepare the house and to celebrate the feast of St Joseph in this place, chosen by God, for our first Foundation in Congolese territory. We were welcomed on this first evening by a heavy downpour of rain which provided us with the water we needed.
On March, 19th, we had the immense joy of celebrating the Holy Eucharist in our house, for the first time, and of erecting, in front of the house, a Cross which our neighbour, Daniel, had made for us. On the Saturday, we had the blessing of the Tabernacle and the Cross.
The weeks which followed were spent in putting the finishing touches to everything, to cleaning and planting. We are now surrounded by greenery, in an area of magnificent natural beauty.
On Thursday, April 2nd, Sister Jacqueline arrived, occasioning a joyfil reunion and increasing our number to three!
Through visits and contact with the people in the village, we already began to feel we had really found our place here. Our thoughts were with Sr Tessy who was held back to care for her invalid Mother
On the 14th, Sister Marietta arrived from Annecy, to represent our Superior General and her Council at the ceremony of the blessing of the house at Yaka Yaka, and the official establishment of the Sisters of St Joseph of Annecy, in the Congo.
Mr Placide, our building contractor, dispatched a team of workmen to speed up the completion of the work.
Sister Jacqueline went out with Sister Agnes to do the shopping, while Sister Marietta and Sister Ailbe decorated the Chapel.
On the 17th morning, the Parish Priest set about installing the sound system, in anticipation of welcoming the Bishop, Monsignor Anatole Milandou. The Sisters of the Immaculate Conception sent us their Aspirants to help out, and Roston, an aspirant with the Blessed Sacrament Fathers, also came to lend a hand. Under the supervision of Mama Bertille, they made 200 sandwiches, to be enjoyed after the ceremony, while Sister Jacqueline prepared savoury and sweet fritters.
By the end of the morning, people had already arrived and a tent had been set up outside to shade them from the strong sunlight. Mama Hélène arrived towards midday. She could not hide her joy and her emotion on seeing the house, established in this area as a sign of what God can do with our collaboration. She could not stop repeating: “How wonderful is the Lord”.
About the 16th, the Bishop arrived with several priests. The choir took up their position under the marquee and the Religious and members of other local authorities filled the Chapel. Sister Jacqueline welcomed the people, and in a few words, she described the main points of our Charism and the reason for our presence in this Congo village.
The Holy Eucharist was celebrated, using the texts and liturgy of the day. In his homily, the Bishop thanked the Congregation, referring to what Sister had shared about our charism, saying: “You know why the Sisters are here, they have have just told you”. During the Eucharist, we recalled the memory of Monsignor Ernest Kombo, who was the first to invite us to the Congo; and of Sister Maurice, Sister of St Joseph of Cluny, who died tragically, in this very place, while excercising her nursing apostolate.
The celebration of the Holy Eucharist was followed by the ritual blessing of the house, during which, the Bishop, Priests and Sisters of the Community made a tour of the house, while the choir sang songs in the local language.
After the ceremony, everyone gathered together, to share the ‘cup of friendship’. Night fell quickly and people began to disperse. It was 6.30 pm on the 17thApril, 2015! Let us give thanks to God!
After clearing away everything, we gathered again in Community, where Sister Agnes spontaneously broke into a heartfelt thanksgiving, by performing a local country dance.
We sang this same song of thanksgiving in the chapel at the end of this blessed day.
This is the day the lord has made…day of rejoicing… day of joy!
Here are some photographs:
Every Foundation is the work of God. We are all witnesses to this. They come to fruition through our collaboration. Countless are the people who, through prayer, confidence and perseverance, through their gifts and material support, have helped to build up this mission of Yaka Yaka. It is therefore, your mission!
To each and everyone: our Sisters, our families, our numerous benefactors, our friends, we wish to express our deepest gratitude. We remain united with you through our daily prayer. Please continue to support us, to take part in accomplishing what God wishes us to realise here. As is so aptly said in Africa: “We are all in it together”. Yes, let us remain together in order to build up, to engage the help of others, so as to contribute our own little stone, thus collaborating in the building up of PEACE in the Congo.