"You have redeemed us O Lord in your Blood!"                     

 

100 TH BIRTHDAY OF SR BERNADETTE MTIMKULU CPS

Sr Bernadette Mtimkulu was Born on 26 November 1918. Her grandfather on her mother’s side was a Mosotho of the Bafokeng tribe. When still a boy, herding cattle and flocks of sheep on the mountains’ sides, staying at Metebong with other boys, they were over taken by a Zulu army and taken away with all their beasts to Zululand during Shaka’s time. Thus, he grew up in the Ixobho area called KwaNokweja. He married a maid of the Baphuthi tribe of the Sihlangu or Mahlangu, as it is called. The couple was graced with three children namely Tharsilla (Sr Bernadette’s mother), Bernard, Nivard and another boy who died. They came to live near Lourdes Mission in Umzimkulu District. This is where Sr Bernadette’s parents Julius Mtimkulu and her Tharsilla got married by Fr Bonaventure Feurer and thereafter, they moved to her father’s home in Makhoba’s Location in the Kokstad, near Mount Currie, where Maria Telgte Mission still stands. Sr Bernadette remembers Makhoba as a peaceful, beloved location and very productive.

Her father, long before she was born, had gradually become a Catechist under Fr Damascus. As he worked in the mission, he was first a guide in the location and a companion to the priest. Later, he rose to a full-fledged Catechist. “I am not boasting, to say that father was a gentle, kind, loving, polite, understanding, just and a generous man.” She recalls. For that reason, he won many people to the Catholic Church in places he went to.

On these small beginnings where her father started, now stands big church buildings. Sr Bernadette remembers that Fr Egbert OFM and another priest used tell them that they always wondered about a certain Mr Julius Mtimkulu who was recorded in the Parish’s Chronicle, where he was and who he was. When her father returned from Jo’burg in the 1970’s, he visited his relatives at Makhoba. On one Sunday, he was introduced to the faithful both young and old. He felt so good that his efforts were not in vain.

Maria Telgte was her first school. The first Principal of the school was Sr Bona Kutzmann. She remembers vividly that as School children they rose as early as five o’çlock as classes started at 7am. Her mother would accompany them through the fields and then watched them until they disappeared to the other side of the hill.

For little Bernadette, Makhoba’s Location and Maria Telgte were the whole world – unique. She never thought that they would be a better place or country than these. Indeed, for example, there grew fruits which never grew anywhere else but in Europe, said many people who visited this place. When classes were over, going back home, westwards along the mountain under which the Mission is built, they would linger long picking the purple, most delicious wild berries. “Ï had never since seen the like anywhere”. She recalls. In order to escape punishment at home, they would pick the best berries and fill their little provision tins. On arrival, they would be asked as to why they arrived so late from school. “They would then be asked to open their mouths in order to check their purple tongs that had been feasting on those purple berries. To that, little Bernadette would produce her provision tin full of berries. Her pacified mother would make the most delicious jam from her berries.

In summer she remembers the rainy days, that meant they would not be able to cross the rivers as there were no high bridges as they are today or none at all. Suddenly, her mother would appear on the hill across the river to inform them to spend the night at her God mother’s home. A few tears were shed because she had loved her mother very much. “This is one of the reasons which delayed my going to the Convent at the age of ten (10) in 1928.” She remembers.

As the political changes (Apartheid) came in force, she says they could no longer go back to Makhoba’s location because the people had been driven driven away towards Matatiele and Mzongwana and to other places. This was the most difficult era for many people who could not comprehend as to why they had to be driven out of their homelands. Those who delayed to move out, were shot dead. Thus, their large family was scattered all over. Consequently, they found a new home at Lourdes, in Umzimkulu District. “My mother could not go back to our old home to gather her property, if one could write the ups and downs of the large family, one could fill volumes.” They were jealousies and greediness. Some of her uncles deprived her mother of all her father’s cattle, horses, goats and plantation during his long absence. This resulted in living a beggary life. Their house was broken into and furniture stolen. Windows frames, door frames and crockery were all stolen. Thus, they were obliged to begin a new life from scratch,

In 1938, they built their own home on the plot, lot 49 at Lourdes. The cost of this plot added to the debt of her education. At the end of her Standard 6, she was certain that her education would come to an end because, her sickly mother could not afford to pay her fees in order to further her education. Lo, and behold, God touched the heart of Rev Fr Henry Jacob who had been transferred from Mariannhill to Lourdes. He offered to pay her fees.

In 1938, Bernadette joined a group of students which opened the Secondary School at Lourdes. In 1940, when Bernadette had completed her Junior Certificate, she was ready to do Teacher’s Training College at Mariazell where she completed her course in 1942. Thus, she was able to pay for her School fees and finished on 7 December. The following year, because of the prospects of entering the Convent, at the end 1944, she was transferred to the Industrial School to teach there. Unknowingly, she was put under the care of Sr Imeldis Mülder, who was to be her future Superior General of the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood. She reports, this was for her the great grace of God to be looked after, as a future Candidate for Religious life. Thus, prior to entering the Convent, she was able to pay for the debt of their farm which she had bought for her mother so that she would not remain stranded. Unfortunately, her mother  passed on 14 January 1944.

In 1944, she entered the Novitiate of the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood, at St Patrick’s, about 10km from Mthatha, Eastern Cape, South Africa. In 1945, Mother Germelina, sent her to Mariannhill to do Matric. In 1947, she and other girls was received as a Novice. She was handed the Constitutions of the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood at the altar when she became a Novice, and these paved and moulded her life as a full-fledged Missionary so till she will sing her last “Nunc dimitis.” As a second year Novice, she was requested to teach 2 classes as the school enrolment had risen.

Mission work begins at Mariazell

On 6 January 1949, she made her first Profession. Soon after, she was transferred to Mariazell Teachers’ Training College. In fact, she was the first African Sister among the white sisters. She embraced their life style knowing very well that she had entered an International Congregation. She understood this to be the will of God as was revealed to her to our Abbot Francis Pfanner, Founder of the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood. She recalls that the Founder showed the detest of God in discrimination. So, she picked up courage and ventured into the unknown with a firm hope the transfer to that place, was by God’s order. She reports that apart from being a classroom teacher, she directed the Girl Guides and Scouts.

In 1962, she became a Principal at St Michael’s Mission, Indonyane. In 1964, she was transferred to St Francis Training College, Mariannhill. There, she taught N.P.L3, teaching aids, drill and environmental studies. In the same year, she passed her Examination in Afrikaans. This what she wrote “Voorbereidende, Laer Taalbond and Hoertaalbond”.

In 1970, under obedience, she was transferred back to Mariazell. Our school was the last to go on strike against the enforcement of teaching several subjects in Afrikaans. In the mean time, her father Mr Mtimkulu, passed on, on 26 August 1979. At St Michael’s, Cwele Mission, she was to be Principal of the School as well as Sr in charge of the Sisters ’ community. In 1986, she retired from teaching and handed over the reins to a younger sister. This period afforded her the opportunity to give instructions to the Catechumens until she was pensioned in 1989.

No wonder there is so much untold evil and suffering in today’s society. God continuously picks on us (early deaths) to remind us of himself and our salvation; that without repentance, there is no salvation, which will be our reward if we do not convert.

 To those in Formation Houses

“I shall not behave like this, I am no longer a Novice”. This is a very wrong statement. This state of Religious life, is very important for Religious Formation, for without it, we cannot live genuine Religious Life. It is a permanent foundation, a constant reminder of the life you vowed to strive to live till you die.

Gratitude expressed.

Lastly, she writes: “I want to thank God despite the many difficulties and joys of this long journey that from my first “Yes”, I learnt that one receives many blessings from God. This I can say with certainty. How many blessings did I receive from my loving God on the work I was doing? As I look back, I realize that God was always on my side. I received many blessings, not only good results, but many converts and nuns of my area who later followed me to enter the convent. Likewise, I want thank all the people who moulded me into what I am today. I am grateful to all my superiors who afforded me to advance in education, so “I could give my students quality education. “When I take stock of my life, I discover so many manifestations of love and care of God for my family. Difficulties were there in plenty, but also good happenings which make me smile when I remember them, “she recalls.

May God blessings be upon them all.

Jubilees at Glen Avent Convent on June 30th

We celebrated with our four Sisters -all together- 210 years of faithful Religious Life


from left to right:

Sr. Hilary 50 years

Sr. Ferdinand 50 years

Sr. Anna Rita 50 years

Sr. Mechtild 60 years

2017-01-06

Perpetual Vows of Sr. Mary James CPS

Perpetual Vows of Sr. Mary James

Today on the day of Epiphany we celebrated a big day of Sr. Mary James cps and our Congregation.

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Sr. Mary James gave herself today fully to God and our Congregation. Thank you very much Sister

2017-11-26

99. Birthday of Sr. Bernadette cps - Happy Birthday Sister Bernadette!




2017-09-17

Happy Feast Day Sr. Kieran cps / Happy Feast Day Sisters





Thank you Sr. Kieran for all your care for us Sisters.

This is the day, this is the day, that the Lord has made ...


Sr. Pauline and the kids of our village brought lots of joy to our Sisters with the traditional dances.






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