By Sr. Mufaro Chakuinga LCBL
The Little Children of Our Blessed Lady (LCBL) Sisters this year celebrates 90 years of existence after the congregation’s foundation by Archbishop Aston Ignatius Chichester in 1932. Sisters from different mission stations within the Archdiocese of Harare, Gokwe, Chinhoyi and Masvingo Dioceses converged at Martindale Primary School from 26 to 28 August 2022, to reflect on their spiritual journey and their vision whose thrust is to nurture family spirit, witness to authentic love, unity, forgiveness and reconciliation.
Bishop Raymond Mupandasekwa of Chinhoyi, Bishop Rudolf Nyandoro of Gweru and Apostolic Administrator of Gokwe, Bishop Emeritus of Gokwe, Angel Floro, the Secretary to the Nuncio, Fr. Fillipe and Archdiocese of Harare Vicar General, Fr. Kennedy Muguti graced the occasion. Also present were former LCBL Superior Generals, representatives of the Conference of Major Religious Superiors in Zimbabwe, Mr. Patrick Chinamasa, Mr. Phillip Chiyangwa and dignitaries from across the Archdiocese of Harare.
The LCBL Sisters is an indigenous congregation which was founded with the aim of raising the dignity of women and the girl child through provision of education, skills development and entrepreneurship. The Sisters occupy a special place within the Catholic Church worldwide. In Zimbabwe Sisters work in different capacities. Some work in schools, hospitals, administration, pastoral and social work while others work in the media fraternity.
The Superior General of the congregation, Sr. Anita Jonga, called upon the LCBL sisters to remain focused on the vision of the congregation. She reminded the Sisters that they were not just ordinary women but that they are set apart to make the kingdom of God known through their different apostolates.
“The congregation is 90 years old now and this means that we have a long history in development, education, care for the children and the vulnerable adults and in the evangelization of peoples. We must cherish our history and make it part and parcel of our life. This event must help us remember the journey the congregation has travelled so far. It also offers an opportunity for us to relive the mind of our founder, Archbishop Chichester,” stressed Sr. Anita.
Her words were buttressed by Sr. Basilia Dembetembe who walked the Sisters though the congregation’s history.
Fr. Kenneth Macharaga CSsR encouraged the Sisters to look to the future with confidence. In his homily, he reminded the sisters that the LCBL congregation was the first local congregation in Zimbabwe and as such should remain a beacon of evangelization, communion, participation and mission in communities where the sisters serve. The congregation has made great strides in developing the local church and the positive impact is felt at different levels of the community. One cannot talk of pastoral activities in the Archdiocese of Harare without mentioning the LCBL Sisters.
The Sisters were challenged to embrace synodality as a way of life whose thrust is to leave no one behind but ensures that generation gaps are mitigated with love, care and tolerance.
The congress which was spiced up with lots of laughter, music, chats and entertainment reconnected sisters from the four dioceses and served as a moment of regeneration and reliving memories. The young and old Sisters participated in activities such as modelling, singing and dancing. As the congregation’s name explains, the hall was filled with the spirit of little children expressed through happiness, cheers and ululation. The Missionary Childhood girls and boys from St. Michael’s Ushehwokunze thrilled the gathering with a well thought-out combined mock profession of vows.