by Sam Kalimba
Handmaids of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Sisters of Zimbabwe say they feel great hope of fulfilling the Synodality theme of “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission” as they open a new community in the AMECEA Region, Malawi.
Prioress General, Mother Madeleine Chapisa HLMC, came in person from Zimbabwe to officially announce their arrival in the Episcopal Conference of Malawi through the Archdiocese of Lilongwe on 15 April 2023 on the sidelines of the official launch of the Centenary Bank.
She said that their coming to Malawi is a fulfillment of the synodality objects as it puts the concept of synodality into practice.
“From the time our two sisters arrived on this land they are overwhelmed by love, faith and commitment of all the faithful here. During this Synod period the sisters already feel great hope of fulfilment in their communion with the local Church, participation in its life and mission. I see we have many things to learn but we are ready to learn on the journey,” she told congregants.
She said that in his sendoff homily to Sisters Evelyn Kadzere and Valentine Gudyanga who were coming for a mission to Malawi, Bishop Paul Horan of the Diocese of Mutare in Zimbabwe made it clear that this was not their own idea or project but they were coming in the name of the congregation and the Church.
She thanked His Grace, Archbishop George Desmond Tambala on behalf of her congregation, for the invitation to join the Church of Malawi to make their what she termed as small contribution to its great mission especially during the time when the country had experienced Cyclone Freddy and its effects.
“We could not come at a better time than this. Yes, we are making the synodal process a reality and at the same time the coming of our sisters has made us feel very close to you and all the people as you face this tragedy,” she said.
As a matter of introducing their congregation Sr. Madeleine Chapisa Said that the Handmaids of Our Lady of Monut Carmel was founded in 1959 in Mutare, Zimbabwe by an Irish Carmelite Bishop, the late Bishop Donal Raymond Lamont.
“Our founder gave us the title ‘Handmaids of Our Lady of Mt. Camel’ for, he wanted us to be close helpers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is the servant of the Lord in the great work of salvation as seen in Luke 1 verse 38,” she said.
She said that as the first Carmelites on Mt. Carmel in Israel, they live the Carmelites Spirituality after the example of the prophet Elijah and Mary mother of Carmel. They believe that living in the presence of God, they strive to do ordinary things with their hearts and mind fixed on God’s will for themselves and His people. In the Carmelite family they are Contemplatives in Action.
According to Sr. Madeleine their participation in the work of salvation is not confined to any one ministry but rather they engage in every service that gives them the opportunity to help Mother Mary in bringing people to Jesus and also keeping in line with their way of life.
Rev. Sr. Valentine Gudyanga and Rev. Sr. Evelyn Kadzere HLMC, arrived in the country at a time when schools were on recess to work at St. John’s Boys Secondary School which belongs to the Archdiocese of Lilongwe.