September 21, 2023

A Gift of the Blessed Mother

Sister M. Anitha Barancira, Muyinga

Investiture of Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary

in Burundi, Central Africa  

On August 27, 2023, we in Burundi had the great joy of accepting six novices into our sisters’ family—five from Burundi and one from Kenya.

The sisters, the priests, the parish in Mutumba, and the pastoral team for the Schoenstatt Shrine of Trust had committed themselves with body and soul to the preparation for this feastday. There was mutual understanding and reciprocal help among the groups. This showed the reality of the Nothing without You – Nothing without Us and the Cor Unum in Patre. It was a Cenacle experience, because in union with Mary, the Holy Spirit worked in each one of us according to our talents for the good of all.

Family-like and spiritual atmosphere

The Investiture was characterized by a family-like and spiritual atmosphere. We were happy that Sister M. Joanna Buckley, our General Superior, and Sister M. Gloria Lopez, our provincial superior, and co-sisters from South Africa and Kenya were with us. The people came from far and near. Thirty-one people from Kenya were underway three days by bus to participate in this family celebration.

Beginning at 7:00 a.m., songs with the theme of vocation were sung in the Schoenstatt Shrine. At 9:00 a.m. the novices entered. Everyone present sang and prayed in unimaginable silence. Then we went in procession to the parish church. There, the General Vicar, Msgr. Anatole Ruberinyange with fourteen priests concelebrated Holy Mass. The choir sang in Kirundi, French, Swahili and English. That helped everyone feel at home.

God asks everyone: Who am I for you?

Among other things, the Vicar General said in his homily that every Christian is called to live by their faith. Jesus asks everyone the question he asked Peter: Who am I for you? He wants us to answer this question in our thoughts, words, and deeds so we can help him build a world where peace, unity, and love reign. No one knows the ways of God. God calls each one and gives each one a task. Therefore, no one should be looked down upon because conversion is always possible. Finally, the Vicar General related examples to help us respond to Jesus.

Here I am!

The Rite of Investiture followed the homily. Sister M. Joanna called the novices by their new names. With a strong and clear voice they answered: Here I am! Then they went to the altar. The Vicar General led the prayers of the rite and handed each novice the dress of the Blessed Mother. The novices then went in procession to change into their new uniform dress.

Everyone was amazed when, after a short time, they entered the church in the dress of a Schoenstatt Sister of Mary. At the Offertory of Holy Mass a group of mothers danced and the novices brought the gifts to the altar.

After Holy Mass, everyone went in procession to the Shrine to receive the final blessing. Each novice brought a lily to the Queen of Trust. A reception followed. The candidates of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary and members of the movement enlivened the celebration with dances.

Gratitude for the presence and apostolate of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary

There were various speeches, among others, from our General Superior and the General Superior of the Schoenstatt Fathers.

A simple man said that through the Blessed Mother, the Queen of Trust, the Mutumba Mission Station saved them. He thanked the Sisters of Mary for everything, for all they have done for the development of this region. The Vicar General thanked our community for what it has contributed to the Church through its presence and apostolate. On behalf of the others, one novice thanked God who had called them, thanked everyone who contributed to their vocations, and asked for their prayers.

We thank God who called us and allows us to participate in his mission. We thank the Mother Three Times Admirable of Schooenstatt, our Queen of Trust, for the gift of these novices, because—as our father and founder emphasized—every child in the family is a gift of the Mother of God.


Photos: Sister M. Gloria Lopez, Quarten, Switzerland; Sister M. Lisette Seitzer Gikungu, Burundi; Photograf from Burundi