Jubilees and first profession in Lubumbashi, D.R. Congo

June 2024

As 24 June, the death anniversary of Father Triest, falls at the beginning of the week this year, so the eucharistic celebration of the first profession of Sisters Cécile-Marlène KAWANG NGOY, Elise MITENDA KALONJI, Francisca-Kévine KILUBA MUKEKWA and Hélène TSHIBUABUA KAMBALA and the jubilees of Sisters Suzanne NTUMBA TSHIKA (twenty-five years), Célestine MUSEKA MWEMA and Els DEBEUF (sixty years) were brought forward to 22 June.

His Excellency Archbishop Fulgence MUTEBA MUGALU, Archbishop of Lubumbashi, presided over the Mass at Notre Dame de la Paix (Our Lady of Peace) Parish, accompanied by eleven priests and two deacons. The Eucharist began at 9.45am. The archbishop came from Kinshasa, where he was taking part in the CENCO (National Episcopal Conference of the Congo) meeting, to celebrate this Eucharist, in particular, to honour Sister Els Debeuf, and because of the good collaboration between himself and the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary (SCJM).

In his homily, His Excellency emphasised that religious life is like a flower in God’s setting. Within the Christian family, SCJMs have two specific characteristics compared to other charisms. The first is that of being called sisters of "charity", which is the first commandment. It is the SCJM’s responsibility to bring this charity to those who are abandoned by society, those who are marginalised. The second specificity is the poor whom the SCJMs take care of, such as the blind, the deaf and the mute... to whose service they devote themselves even better than their biological parents!

He encouraged the newly professed sisters to persevere in their vocation despite the demands that society may place on them, following the example of the older sisters who have lived twenty-five and sixty years of religious life despite the vicissitudes of life. He invited them to put their trust in God, who has called them, and to avoid modelling themselves on the present world.

In her turn, Sister Isabelle Ilunga, Provincial Superior, also highlighted the beauty and value of religious life, saying:

"Dear Jubilarians,

We are very happy to be with you to give thanks to the Lord.
You have believed and experienced that the Lord loves you and accompanies you, and today you tell us once again that it was worthwhile following him.

To celebrate a jubilee is to look at the golden thread that runs through the fabric of your lives, a thread that is tenuous but solid, and whose name is love of God, charity, simplicity, poverty, trust and humility.

Dear young sisters who have just taken the first step today: you are God’s today, and we need you to serve the Church, to proclaim the Good News, to spread the joy of the Gospel. You are members of the body of Christ: take your place, love Christ, serve your brothers and sisters with humility and generosity. In your personal encounter with Christ, ask him humbly and confidently: "Lord, who is my neighbour? What do you want me to do? How do you want me to serve you? And give of yourself with joy and generosity, you will be fulfilled in return.”

After Mass, a festive meal was served in the Peter Joseph Triest room at Tshondo School.

From left to right: Sisters Cécile-Marlène KAWANG NGOY, Hélène TSHIBUABUA KAMBALA, Francisca-Kévine KILUBA MUKEKWA and Elise MITENDA KALONJI

Standing from left to right: Sisters Els DEBEUF, Suzanne NTUMBA TSHIKA and Isabelle ILUNGA (Provincial Superior)
Seated: Sister Célestine MUSEKA MWEMA

Sister Véronique Nyindu

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