Sr. Bernadette spends time with the MSC community in Dubbo, Ethiopia
The following is an interview with Sr. Bernadette Anello, MSC, a member of the Province Vocation Promotion Team. Sr. Bernadette recently spent two months at the MSC mission in Dubbo, Ethiopia. During a recent visit to Radnor, PA, she shared her Ethiopian experiences.
What was the purpose of your visit to Ethiopia?
[The primary reason for my visit to Ethiopia] was to work with our MSC novices in formation for an extended period of time. [I presented] a course on the Catholic faith – during this Year of Faith.
In Ethiopia, how many aspirants, candidates, novices, first professed and final professed Missionary Sisters are there? Currently, there are 21 aspirants; 8 candidates; 9 novices; 9 first professed and 3 MSCs who made their final vows. One MSC is preparing to make her final vows next year. (To learn more about these terms, please see page eight.)
You last traveled to Ethiopia in 2009. What changes did you notice in Ethiopia since your last visit?
The extension of mission outreach has grown considerably.
The Sisters there are continuing vocation promotion in the parishes and with the children. It is the desire of the Bishop of Soddo to engage the Missionary Sisters in further mission activity. The Missionary Sisters have been in Ethiopia for fourteen years. Two of the four Missionary Sisters currently missioned in Ethiopia have been there since the inception of the mission. We have two missions in Ethiopia, one in Addis Ababa and one in Dubbo, a small village. Due to growth, we may be expanding housing in Addis and Dubbo.
What are some plans for the future in Ethiopia with regard to vocations? Childcare?
With regard to vocations, the priests in local parishes are often the ones who first inform young ladies about the Missionary Sisters. There is not another congregation in the area that has a Sacred Heart spirituality. The Bishop is asking us to take on more responsibility.
Our childcare mission currently is in transition. We are caring for 7 young children right now – significantly fewer children than in previous years. The Sisters are in contact with many of the families who have adopted children in the past and who now live in Italy.
What gave you joy during your visit?
So much! Surely, the grace of God is active in each of
these Ethiopian missions. For me, to engage with young women who are full of life, energy and focused on becoming an MSC is joyful.
Working with the novices – hearing their questions and seeing their eagerness to move forward in their religious lives.
Additionally, the interaction [I had] with all the professed sisters – to share in the spirit of the community and mission - was life giving. We would tell stories and laugh. [I so appreciated] the intercultural, international dimension of our community life.
And of course, spending time with the babies, the little ones!
What challenges did you encounter?
They are good challenges: to prepare these women for roles of responsibility within the community and for mission extension in Ethiopia and beyond Ethiopia. We prepare people to become leaders.
Learning a new language is not always easy; in many ways each of us is stretched beyond ourselves.
Ethiopia is a fascinating country. [The people there] possess a basic kindness. They are a gentle people.
Children are the same all over the world.
We are one world, one people.
Being in Ethiopia for slightly more than two months was
a gift from God in so many ways and I am grateful.