'New Beginnings'

By Sister Mary Fisher, FMSA


Students in Lonergan Hall with Sr. Mary Fisher
One of the images found in Biblical Spirituality is 'journey'. We see this image in Abraham's journey from Ur to the Promised Land; Moses' journey of leading his people from enslavement to freedom; and Jesus' journey from the Father and returning to Him having lived and passed through the Paschal Mystery.

This dynamic of Journey is also an experience for all as we each live our journey in a unique and very personal way. Living this experience of journey offers the opportunity of 'newness' each day. This experience of something new is certainly true as I look back over thirty years of missionary life in Africa. I never saw myself living in South Africa, nor did I see continuing my apostolate in Spirituality and Retreat Work, eventually leading to an apostolate in a seminary. BUT...God has wonderful surprises for each of us if we open ourselves to Him.

Today, I am in South Africa, working as a Formator and teaching Psycho-Spiritual Development with approximately 70 students. Our students having successfully completed one year of Orientation, are studying Philosophy at St Peter's Seminary in Pretoria. It is a privilege to play a part in the formation of these students and to be part of the future of the Church in this beautiful country.

Our young and not so young students come from 27 Dioceses, as well as Lesotho and Swaziland. We also have a small number from other African countries, who wish to be included within the South African Church.

L_R Frs. Banzigwe Nkoze, Petrus Shiya, Raphael Mahlangu (Rector), Kurian, Ezekiel Mkhwanazi. (Staff Members)
Although South Africa is part of the African Continent, it is a country with a difference. This difference is due to its history of Apartheid and the struggle the Black people endured due to injustices and myopic vision of the minority. Their struggle for freedom, and the suffering which resulted, has brought the Black people to a dignity, as they continue to find their own identity of being a 'rainbow' nation and a Black people, who are truly African in their identity.

As I continue experiencing life in South Africa, the image I have is of rose buds tightly closed for centuries, their beauty, fragrance or magnificent colours not being permitted to be seen by others or even by themselves. As these rose buds continue to open, one wonders what the future holds as each racial and language group discover their own unique contribution to the African people in particular, and to the world in general.

"Thus says God who created the heavens and spread
out the land with its crop.... I, the Lord, have called you
for the victory of justice I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you.. .as a light to the nations."
                                                                Isaiah 426