Eucharist our life
At the beginning of the foundation of the Holy Family religious community, life was tough for the founder and the foundresses. First of all financial resources were very scarce. They depended on the gifts they received from people of good will for their daily needs and for the survival of their orphanage. People could not understand how the perseverance of these young ladies living in absolute poverty could be possible. We learn from the writings of the founder that the new foundation was facing all kinds of criticism. People were scandalized by the fact that the founder was a young newly ordained priest. They survived through their faith and total trust in God’s providence and continued to listen to him and to surrender to his Will revealed through daily events. Before they could reach a point of total demoralization God’s intervention came to their rescue. On 3rd February 1822, God chose to give a special sign to them and blessed the foundation in a special way. Sunday adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament was part of their devotional practices. On this particular Sunday, the sacred host seemed to expand beyond the confines of the Monstrance and Jesus appeared in a human form. He raised his right hand to bless the people who had assembled in the chapel for adoration. He was seen by all except those who did not look at the monstrance. One of the latter group was Sister Milady Peychaud who experienced God’s special presence within herself and heard, interiorly, the voice saying:
“I am the One who is and there is only I who am”, then, “Honour and the esteem of creatures are only smoke and I am the One who is; their friendship is only dust and I am the One who is. Wealth and pleasure are only mud and I am the One who is and there is no other.”
This experience had great impact on the growth of the Holy Family Association. The Family grew faster and expanded in all directions until it reached international dimensions. Even today the Holy Family Association treasures this event and celebrates its memory annually on 3rd February. In some communities adoration hours starts 2 days prior to the 3rd February. This year 2015, the Unit of Lesotho had different forms of prayer during their adoration time. In Maseru, this year, the Provincial House community invited the Sun International workers who were on strike to join the sisters in adoration from 11:00 a. m. to 17:30. Special sharing and group guidance was made for them in the beginning and for the whole day they continued to file in for quiet personal adoration. In Loretto Parish the Holy Family Youth had special retreat of three days from the 1st to 3rd February. The retreat was directed by Sr. Ernestina Phohleli HFB.
Justice and peace
Holy Family Sisters assembled together at their Provincial House on the 22 February 2015 to listen to Father Matsoso O.M.I, a member of Justice and Peace staff at Lesotho Catholic Bishops’ Conference. As a liaise person between the Catholic Church and the Parliament in Lesotho Fr. Matsoso`s talk was about the actual political situation of the country in preparation for the general elections of the 28th February 2015. He insisted a lot on the role played by the media in aggravating the instability of the country. In his introduction he called our attention to the familiar text in the Acts of the Apostles (2:44). He pointed out that the common mission of the first Christian community was to spread the good news and they also put their properties together and shared them according to their needs. He compared the role of Apostles that of the journalists because they were announcing the truth that they knew and believed rather than defending their personal interests. In the same manner, it is the duty of every good journalist to publish the true and well investigated story because media can bring about peace or destroy it, depending on the way information is handled.
He went on to show us how all this relates to our purpose as Holy Family members: Holy Family has a common mission according to its Charism and the constitutions by which all have to abide. It is very important that members should be vigilant and examine themselves in order to make good choices especially as we are celebrating the 150 years of our presence in Lesotho. We are becoming fewer in numbers at present, and our Institutes are heading towards the 200 years of presence since their foundation. Experience in the Church has shown that there is something special about 200 years in the life cycle of Religious Institutes. The two things we have to expect are, either, the Institute will die or it will be reborn again and take a new form. This will be determined by how we respond from now not tomorrow. It is unfortunate that, though our number decreases while pastoral challenges seems to increase, we seem to be occupied by teaching in schools and nursing the sick while neglecting the political issues that have great influence on peace and stability in our country. The examples he gave were those of the coalition government which lasted for only two and half years, and the irregularities such as the court case of His Majesty, the king. Once again he advised religious to be vigilant in the awareness of the needs of the times and not to allow themselves to be misused by politicians. He informed us that the Bishops` Conference has released a position statement against the abuse of human life and the misuse of the security forces of the country by politicians.