Diamond and Silver Jubilees
Srs. Sheila Rice and Fidelma O'Neill
Celebrate at Chipata Compound, Lusaka

Srs. Sheila and Fidelma
L-R Srs. Sheila Rice and Fidelma O'Neill
Sr. Fidelma writes...

On the 3rd May 2009 there was great excitement here at Kevina House in Chipata Compound, Lusaka, as we gathered to celebrate Sr. Sheila Rice’s Diamond Jubilee and my Silver Jubilee of Religious Profession.  We had just completed our Assembly of Sisters from our Southern Africa Region which we hold every three years. Fortunately, our Assembly was being held at Kalundu Study Centre in Lusaka, so our Sisters could join us in Chipata for our Jubilee.  It was a wonderful day of togetherness and celebration.

Marie and Paula had worked so hard organising the celebration together with their very helpful staff.  The setting was really wonderful.   We celebrated Eucharist in the chapel, so beautifully decorated with flowers and Alleluias and ‘Congratulations on your Diamond Jubilee, Sheila’ and  ‘Congratulations on your Silver Jubilee, Fidelma’ artistically posted on the walls.   Sheila and I, Louise and Mary Courtney, (Readers) and Eugene O’Reilly, Kiltegan Father, (Celebrant) were drummed into the Sacred Space by Perpetual and Vidah.   Cecilia welcomed us and in her unique way gave an appreciation of our presence and mission as FMSA. The readings we chose were Isaiah 43: 1-4 (adapted), Ephesians 3: 14-21 and the Disciples on the Road to Emmaus Luke 24: 13-35.   

In his inspiring homily, Fr. Eugene quoted Timothy Radcliffe, O.P. “Christianity doesn’t offer us a roadmap but invites us on a journey and gives us a glimpse of the destination”.   As I look back on my journey I see that God gently led me to glimpse a plan for me that I had not imagined.   It has been a journey of growth and blessings.  Before the Concluding Prayer, Cecilia presented us with the Papal Blessing.  This was much appreciated.

We then wended our way to the oasis - the garden at Kevina House - where shades had been erected.  Roses were in bloom, pawpaw and passion fruits ripening and pots of petunias added to the colour and beauty of the setting.

We had a delicious, leisurely meal.  We also tucked into a mouth-watering Jubilee Cake lovingly baked by Marie. 

Sr. Madeleine Kakungu, Baptistine Sister, a friend from my time in Solwezi, was a very lively guest and ensured that both Jubilarians were blessed in true Bemba fashion with liberal handfuls of mealie meal poured over our heads. Then the sing-song and dancing began.  Perpetual and Vidah, who was celebrating her feast day, drummed as Madeleine led the dancing.  Our Southern African Region has lots of talented singers so we enjoyed ourselves.

The happiest day ever came to a close with Evening Prayer of Thanksgiving.

                                                                                                    Sr. Fdelma O'Neill FMSA