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South Africa

First Profession of Sr. Marvis Mazhunga - 8th December 2012

This year the Feast of the Immaculate Conception was a day of great joy and celebration in teh South African Province as Sr Marvis Mazhunga made her First Profession in the St Teresa's Convent Chapel in Rosebank, Johannesburg.

Marvis’s parents, sister, brother, nieces and friends journeyed from Zimbabwe to be with Marvis and the Mercy Sisters on this great occasion. Not even the seven hour delay at the border between Zimbabwe and South Africa dampened the spirits of the travellers.

The Holy Cross novices, many of whom are from Zimbabwe, were invited to join the choir for the Mass and their beautiful voices and the sound of the traditional drumming nearly lifted the chapel roof. Spontaneous dancing and clapping punctuated the really joyous celebration.

After the reading of the Gospel, Mr and Mrs Mazhunga accompanied Marvis to the altar where Sr Thérèse Tangney welcomed her and asked her what she wanted of the Sisters of Mercy. This part of the ceremony was followed by an inspiring homily given by the main celebrant who had also made his way from Zimbabwe.

Sr Colmcille Roche and Sr Therese Tangney witness Marvis signing her vows

After the Mass, everyone gathered in the school hall, where the dancing and singing continued until late in the afternoon.

Final Profession

On Saturday 25 March 2006, Sr Rachel Nukeri professed her Final Vows in the Parish of Jonathan, northwest of Pretoria. Sr Breege O’Neill, the Congregational Leader, accepted Rachel’s vows.

It is not likely that you will find Jonathan on a world map, but for this day it was a hive of activity, all roads led to Jonathan. It is the parish in which Rachel was baptised and confirmed, so it was fitting that she made another statement of her commitment in the same place. Fr Lino Vinco, who baptised her, was present in the sanctuary.

The three-hour ceremony was a combination of African cultural practices – drums, dancing, ululating – and traditional Catholic Church practices – solemnity, ritual, Eucharistic celebration.

One of the most moving moments of the ceremony was Rachel’s prostration while the choir sang the litany of the Saints in their local language. There was an atmosphere of silence and awe.

Another important aspect which was noted by all present was the participation of Sr Breege and Sr Therese Tangney (Provincial Leader) in the ceremony: questioning of Rachel, accepting of the vows and presenting the ring. Rachel’s parents were also involved in the ceremony and were assured of our recognition of their connection with the Mercy community.

The homily during the Mass was given by Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of Johannesburg who spoke very directly and practically about the challenges facing African priests and religious.

Religious beliefs: the call of the ancestors versus the call of Christ.
Conflicting loyalties: family versus the religious community.

Rachel Dancing

Rachel dancing

In her address, Sr Breege referred to the significance of the occasion, its spirit of joy, its blessing for our Congregation and the seriousness of the commitment.

Before the final blessing, Archbishop George Daniel reminded us that from the homes in this remote part of the Archdiocese of Pretoria, five young women have joined religious congregations in recent years.

The final part of the ceremony was an enjoyable meal prepared and served by the local women.

We congratulate Rachel and wish her God’s blessing and many years of fruitful service in our Congregation.

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