13 Oct 50 Years of our presence in Sangmelima. Cameroon
Last Saturday, October 8, we celebrated the 50 th anniversary of our mission in Sangmelima.
Sangmelima is a small city in the Dja et Lobe Department in the South Province of Cameroon. There you find a cosmopolitan population coming from many different backgrounds. The Bulus comprise the main ethnic group, which in turn is comprised of different clans. There are also other ethnic groups such as Fang, Baka, etc.
Sangmelima can be characterized principally as a city of students, and that is where our history begins.
During the Second Vatican Council, the bishop of that city, Pierre Celestine NKOU, met with our Mother General, Cristina Estrada and invited her to begin a foundation in his diocese. For several reasons, when the first Sisters arrived in Cameroon they founded in the Diocese of Yaounde, opening a community in Bikop in 1966. However, Bishop Nkou did not give up on his desire for us to be present in his diocese, and on April 30, 1972, the community of Sangmelima began.
We can relate our history with the symbol chosen for the ceremony, the Mveet, a traditional instrument that the elders of the place use to tell stories to the younger members. These histories speak of the alterity (otherness) of God and the smallness of man, a good symbol to represent the Eucharist and our charism of Reparation that has set down roots in the midst of this people. It is a beautiful representation of the gifts of this mission during its 50 years.
One mission supported by three very well-defined pillars: the promotion of women and young girls, youth ministry in the diocese, and formal and non-formal education.
From 1972 to 2016 the “Foyer Notre Dame d’Afrique”
It was our principal mission. In this residence many girls were accompanied in their comprehensive development. There were also dressmaking workshops for the women of the neigborhood.
“I, Ada Jacky Brice, give you thanks for what you have made of me:
A sociable and gracious woman.
A hardworking, precise and sensitive teacher
An energetic and caring mother…
You have taught me to overcome difficulties, to progress, to be aware of myself… to live the love of
In 1982 we began to take charge of the Maternelle Saint Joseph, a kindergarten belonging to the
diocese. In 2009 it was transferred from the Congregation, becoming the Groupe Scolaire Bilingue
“My name is Mvondo Sylvie, but everyone affectionately calls me M’a Sylvie. My history with the Congregation begins in 1987 and continues to this day. From the beginning I felt like part of the family because of the way that these great-hearted women welcomed me. Their hospitality and solidarity in a moment of illness me gave me a lesson in life that I try to transmit. It is with great joy
emotion and above all pride that I have worked for this cause for 37 years. My dear Sisters, thank you so much. Akibaooo (thank you very much). Just one word, continue!.”
“I am Freddy Ze Medou, teacher in the bilingual school Group Sagrado Corazón… vour works are visible , palpable and varied… Truly you are mothers of the poor, the rich, the healthy, the sick, the disabled, the black people, the white people, the prisoners, the free…. I am happy about your acceptance, the moments of joy are immense, the education in the Faith has made me understand my vocation as a teacher in a different way. My place of work has become a great family where the human being is our great concern.”
Since 1972 youth ministry has been one of the main apostolates preparing youth in schools for the reception sacraments, in addition to work with other groups in the diocese: CopMonde, Ethnie du monde, Youth Eucharistic Movement; vocation ministry, as well as formation of catechists.
The academic year 1988-1989 marked the beginning of the Santa Rafaela Maria group that comprises part of the large ACI Family.
“My deepest gratitude to the Sisters who have sown in me a very particular seed that had put down roots when I began school in 1992. Without them I could not have accomplished the things I have done since then.” Taraise ZEH
“To speak of the impact that my relationship with the Sisters has had on me is simply to speak of my life, since my encounter with them 30 years ago still guides me today. Everything that I am, I owe to my faith in God, faith that has been supported and nourished through the accompaniment of the Sisters. All my gratitude to them.” Bertin SOUA
In the year 2010, urged by the Sisters and Bishop Christophe Zoa, we began prison ministry, as well as courses so that the young people could earn diplomas for secondary education and vocational training.
In this celebration we wanted to give thanks to so many people who have passed through our lives in these 50 years, helping us to find God. We give thanks to all and to each one of the Sisters who throughout these 50 years have been contributing their “little grain of sand” so that this great family will never stop growing. We give thanks to the Assistants, Belén and Inés, who have accompanied us
with their presence. Above all we give thanks to God for giving us the opportunity to be in this little city in Cameroon, working “so that all may know and love Him.”
Yolanda García, aci