Sister Letta Mosue belongs to the Congregation of St. Brigid from the Rustenburg Diocese, South Africa. She has been an educator, clinical psychologist with a specialty in trauma counseling and ministered in university and police correctional services. Now in private practice, she works at an oncology clinic and is superior general of her congregation.
Are there meaningful interactions with others for you, personally, or for your community in your neighborhood? If yours is a changing neighborhood, how are you responding to the changes?
The convent where I am stationed is in a township of Tlhabane outside Rustenburg Town in the North West Province of South Africa. In all the years of its existence, since 1972, most parishioners never contributed anything toward the sisters stationed here. Instead, they expected things from us. Since we were working and earning good government salaries ourselves, we were self-sufficient and did not care; now, our sisters are more infirm and elderly.
For the past three years, we have been seeing drastic changes among parishioners, and we don't know what triggered it. It started when one of our Small Christian Communities requested a workshop. At the workshop, they promised to "adopt" the sisters. Twice a year, groceries and toiletries are delivered. A sodality gives us money. Last year, the parish surprised us by repainting our convent, which has never been repainted outside since it was built.
Their gestures have brought us much closer together. They have become approachable and caring. This year, when we hosted our "ABC" — Companions of St. Angela, the St. Brigid Sisters, and the Calvary Sisters — biannual meeting, I asked for food donations from some sodalities and the parish itself. The response was amazing. Everything we ate was donated. One man I know from another parish donated a sheep, and another young man donated 20 kilograms of chicken packs.
Not only has the attitude of parishioners changed toward the sisters, but I have also been even more surprised by the attitude of the non-Catholics around. When one of our sisters passed on in May 2017, the next-door neighbor came to bring her condolences when she heard that we were in mourning. When the neighbor died in 2019, we joined with others in support of her children.
Even our cats get meals from next door! If they see our gate open late at night, our neighbors from the Protestant church next door come to make us aware that we forgot to close and lock our gate. The owner of the Spar Supermarket has become a close friend. If we have visitors and we take them to the store for their needs, we come away with donated cakes and drinks to welcome them. The proprietor also donates when we have funerals or other celebrations. On April 27, I attended the wedding of his daughter.
We have become a community that supports and cares for one another regardless of our church affiliation. We are truly neighborly!
We're delighted to bring you this blog from the monthly feature "The Life" courtesy of our friends at Global Sisters Report. This month "The Life" panelists gave us an intimate peek into their own neighborhoods and neighbors and how they ar responding to the interactions. Click HERE to read more blogs from The Life, GSR's monthly feature about the unique, challenging and very specific lives of women religious around the world.