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News inserted on 16/02/2009

Visit of Sisters Judith Sheridan and Shirley Foust to Tanzania

SMSM Sisters Sister Judith Sheridan wrote of their visit to our sisters in Tanzania:

We Marist Missionary Sisters have been in French-speaking Africa for many years: in Senegal, Mauritania, Algeria, Madagascar, Rwanda and Burundi. Now the North American Province is in English-speaking Africa. We were invited to the Archdiocese of Shinyanga by Bishop Aloysius Balina. His Pastoral Plan puts high priority on health, education and pastoral care and we are involved in all three areas. This sounds very impressive but it is totally reliant on an unstable income which dictates its effectiveness. The Tanzanians are used to waiting on the rain, waiting on the crops and waiting on services. They maintain a ready smile, peaceful presence and welcoming attitude in their waiting.

SMSM SistersThree of the sisters work at the school where a convent is being built but that skeletal structure remains unfinished. The fourth sister, Sr. Annemarie gets around on a bicycle for her small Christian community visits. Transport to school and to the parish communities is unreliable and becomes one more way the Sisters are in solidarity with the people.

The Church gatherings were awesome. The dancing and singing so majestic and heart felt. There was standing room only in the very large Cathedral. An outstanding impression was one of youth, energy and hope. There are few old people with a life expectancy of 46 from diseases such as T.B., malaria and HIV/AIDS.

SMSM Sisters It is a mission of “being with” and of waiting. Sister Shirley Foust and I left with a promise to be their partners and to lend support across the globe in prayer.

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