By Sister Jeanne Goessling, SSND
It was October 15, 2018, around 3:00 in the afternoon, when a knock was heard at the front door of our SSND Lady of Good Counsel Formation House in Kisumu, Kenya. Surprised by this knock, we Sisters of the community came to the door and found 15 women standing outside with luggage. The visitors were asked what the reason was for them to be knocking at our door. Strangely, 12 of them introduced themselves and in some way indicated that they wished to come and discern their call to become a School Sister of Notre Dame. Each was gladly welcomed and entered with her luggage, indicating she was here to stay.
There were three additional women, Sisters Irene Brookman Arthur, Mary Mayi-Ojo Abuh, and Marceline Anyega, who had no luggage. They said that they were from the Province of Africa and had lead these women on their journey from Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya to our home. They, too, entered, and all were invited to the chapel where Jesus, the Head of the House, was waiting their arrival.
After hearing and singing that all were welcomed, Sisters Mara Frundt and Masicha Carolyn Nasimiyu were heard calling each by name: AliceAlu Kur, Beatrice Seember Ortserga, Cecilia Mwende Muunda, Elizabeth Ekomobong Obot, Evelyn Azumah Adondiwo, Felicity Msendoo Amase, Francisca Akunna Ekeji, Jennifer Kibangben Kolan, Nancy Achieng’, Stellamaris Syombua David, Sylivia Nyaboke Nyamira and Theresa George Umoh. They asked if each was wishing to become a postulant and begin this faith journey.
In the Spirit of Psalm 25, God was asked to make known his ways with the reminder that each was truly His. Words from the Constitution of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, You Are Sent, welcomed the 12 women and their gifts, as they have perceived in themselves God’s grace and been drawn to share their lives with all of the sisters in the congregation. Each was signed with a cross on her forehead, ears, eyes and heart, followed by thanksgiving for their families, for it was through and with family that their faith has been nurtured. Prayers for their courage, strength and love would be needed for this new journey as postulants.
By no accident, as it was now about 4:00 in the afternoon, we heard how Jesus called his first apostles around that same time of day. Each woman was given a candle to remind her that it is Christ who lights the way. Bibles were received to be used for their daily prayer, so as to hear God’s Word and call. Each woman was given a chain and medal of Mother Theresa of Jesus, who dared to trust and dare as they were now being invited to do in their choice to share in her charism.
Finally, the women readily answered their summons and were welcomed as postulants. All present prayed that God would keep them joyful and full of hope, and they would come to know Him and live well as companions on this journey.
Excitement breathed in the community as each, now no longer worried about what this entrance would be like, shared a Sign of Peace. These 12 visitors who came knocking at our door were now members of the Formation Community, along with Sisters Mara, Masicha, Marceline and Jeanne. No longer just visitors, they were shown to their assigned bedrooms as their joy vibrated throughout the entire house. A great dinner was shared, followed by cake and ice cream.
The day ended with each new postulant able now to finally settle into her new home and bed.