SCJM News update on Covid-19 / Belgium / 22.03.2020

The coronavirus is making its mark on an increasing number of people here in Belgium. As of today, there are 3401 confirmed cases and 75 deaths in the country.

With us the SCJMs, all of us are quarantined and all group activities banned, including liturgical celebrations. Any outing is limited to essential needs. Food markets admit one at a time only and purchasing is controlled to avoid panic-buying.

Despite all possible precautions, there are two of our elderly Sisters confirmed of the infection, one of whom is hospitalised and the second one, remaining in the Home, is given out to be improving. There is also one suspected case, under treatment.

Among the health care attendants in the Homes of our elderly sisters, we have three confirmed cases and two suspected cases.

It is the hope and prayer of every one of us that we see better days sooner than later!

On a different note, Sr. Sushila and Sr. Noreen, our two INC members, who are now in the community of Melle for language study appear to have integrated themselves well and feel happy and at home there. The community too is happy to have them. During these critical times, when everyone is required to remain in her respective room, when there are both confirmed and suspected cases among the Sisters, they have opted to remain with the Sisters to help them out in whatever way possible, even though the language is a barrier. This is SCJM spirit and really laudable!

In general, it is quiet and calm everywhere: the roads are clear and markets are empty; no sound of the airplanes or speeding vehicles; the hustle and bustle of the city is gone… But the skies are blue and clear, winter is giving way to spring, and the nature is beginning to put out its annual show!

And life continues under the loving gaze of the Almighty! We remain united in prayer with and for our sisters and brothers the world over, suffering and in pain!

Sr. Lucy Jacob

The Situation of COVID – 19 in the Areas of SCJM Presence

In the light of WHO declaring COVID – 19 as a pandemic disease, a question that comes to the mind of each one of you, I presume, would be “How are our Sisters in these critical times?” My immediate answer is: so far so good! There is no report of a SCJM casualty from anywhere in the Congregation.

However, as reports of more and more confirmed cases and mortality reach us from across the globe, we have reason to be concerned about, not only for ourselves but also for our sisters and brothers everywhere. Including Italy and France, where we have student Sisters, we are spread out over seventeen countries and the situation appears grave in some of these countries.

Italy, where we have two students (Sr. Nathalie Mayang Ntambw of St. Bernard, Congo and Sr. Lilly Pallipurath of the province of Ranchi, India), is declared a “red zone” – meaning people should stay home except for work and other emergencies. Both our Sisters report that they are well inside their homes and their studies continue on-line.

Sr. Beatrice Tshilemba of the province of St. Vincent, Congo is in France where all gatherings are banned and schools are closed among several other measures taken to avoid spreading the disease. However, she reports that her classes continue on schedule.

The elderly being the most vulnerable, in England and Ireland, besides other restrictions, everyone is advised against visiting the Homes of the elderly sisters. In both the countries, many restrictions are in place.

Here in Belgium, the National Security Council has declared a state of emergency over the entire country. Consequently, all recreational and sporting events are cancelled or postponed. Public places like restaurants, bars, and cafés are shut; schools remain closed… The Conference of Bishops has decided to suspend all liturgical celebrations, gatherings and meetings.

Consequently, practically all of us are ‘quarantined’. Both for the Generalate and Belgium provinces, celebrations, meetings and similar other gatherings are cancelled or postponed; those scheduled for the coming weeks/months are to be reconsidered. Over-seas mission trips of the General Government are to be rescheduled…

All the Asian countries of SCJM presence report cases of infection. Vietnam is stepping up measures to stop the virus from entering the country and spreading within the country. Our Sisters are quarantined within their respective communities, as reported earlier. Scheduled events in the Region may have to be postponed.

As of now, the situation seems mild in the Philippines, though the number of infected cases is rising. People are advised to stay home. Our IAN community, just out of the volcano-crisis - will they have to brace up for another crisis?

India reports a rising number of infected / suspected cases. The Union Government has declared COVID – 19 as a ‘notified disaster’. Our Sisters are on the alert and adopting precautionary measures to ward off the disaster.

Pakistan has confirmed cases of the pandemic and, according to WHO, is faced with a great challenge of containing it. Borders are sealed and public events are cancelled. Obviously, a serious concern for our Sisters.

As new COVID-19 positive cases are being reported in Sri Lanka, the province remains alert to meet up the eventuality. The government has imposed a ban on public gatherings and issued restrictions on travelling; educational institutions are closed.

Congo, which has already been facing an Ebola epidemic for more than a year, is preparing to face the pandemic of COVID - 19. The risk is great and the government has already initiated certain measures to arrest its entry and spread. Our Sisters in both the provinces are genuinely concerned.

The number of infected cases is given out to be on the rise in South Africa, a situation inviting our Sisters to be cautious.

According to the available information, while Rwanda reports one confirmed case today, Burundi, Mali & Central Africa have no reported cases. May our Sisters enjoy this relative sense of relief and security!

In summary, as of today, 15.03.2020, we have the following picture!

Country Total Cases Total Deaths
World Wide
United Kingdom
Sri Lanka
South Africa
Central Africa

ECDC report update / 15.03.2020
(European Center for Disease prevention and Control)

No doubt, it is a situation that calls for a concerted effort to bring this pandemic under control. In the words of the Director General of WHO: “This is not just a public health crisis; it is a crisis that will touch every sector – so every sector and every individual must be involved in the fight … we’re in this together (and together) this virus can be suppressed and controlled,” he asserts.

Let us, during this time of lent, do everything in our power for the amelioration of this pandemic disease. In particular let us pray, personally and in community; let us pray for the sick, for the care-takers of the sick and for all those involved in controlling the situation and finding a remedy. May the Spirit of wisdom enlighten and guide all those who are to take decisions in response to this outbreak!

Sr. Lucy Jacob Palliam Pallithura

Echo from the Generalate - 11/03/2020

- On 27th February, the community welcomed members of a commission who were to have a meeting at the Generalate with the objective of finding ways and means of fostering unity and communion within the European provinces and region. As
participants of this commission (named Unity Commission), there were two members from each of the three units. Co-ordinated by Sr. Roshni Barla, this was their fourth meeting from its inception in November 2018.

- A stage performance of the Passion of Jesus was organised by a group of health workers and patients of Beau Vallon, Saint-Servais on 01 March. Some members of the community went to see this play. It was a very creative and meaningful performance, staged in the auditorium of the hospital which was packed to its capacity.

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- While we wait for the arrival of the two members of the International Community from Africa, the two others who are already here are now busy learning Flemish. The Community of Melle has happily welcomed them and Sr. Martine Krichel is spending some valuable time to initiate them into a new language. Inserted into a Flemish speaking community, they are having a wonderful chance to pick up the language. Both the teacher and the students seem to be very serious and hard-working while the Sisters of the community accompany them lovingly and warmly.

- On 7th March, the community had the joy of welcoming some of the Ursulines of Tildonk: the Superior General, Sr. Bimla Minj, and community. They spent a few hours with us and their presence was a source of much life and joy. A meal together and a walk in the gardens added much vigour to the visit.

Echo from the Generalate - 24/02/2020

- News from Vietnam: Sr Suman Anima, Regional Superior of the Region of Vietnam gave some information on the situation in the country. The population lives in fear of the coronavirus. Schools are closed, churches are almost empty during Eucharistic celebrations. Our Sisters do not go to work, they stay at home to read, do some gardening or tailoring...
We entrust to the Lord this great scourge caused by the new coronavirus and all its victims.

- The Generalate Community had the joy of welcoming Sr. Kim-Chi Duong’s mother on 15/02/2020. She came from France to visit her daughter and spend some time with the Community. During her stay, she visited the Grand Place in Brussels. The Community spent a good weekend with her before her return on Monday 17/02/2020. We thank her for her short stay with us as a kind, gentle and attentive mother. We wish her a safe return to France.

Sisters Sushila and Noreen

- Delegated by the Superior General, Sr. Deepthika Silva, General Assistant, left for the Philippines on 20/02/2020 to visit the novices at the Inter-Asian Novitiate. She will come back on 26/02/2020. We wish her a good mission with the youth which is the future of our Congregation.

- Arrival of two members of the International Community at the Generalate:
Sr. Noreen Fazal from Pakistan arrived first on 21/02/2020, followed by Sr. Sushila Toppo from Ranchi on 23/02/2020. They were warmly welcomed by the Generalate community who is happy to spend some time with them while waiting for the arrival of the other members. We give thanks to the Lord for the realisation of the dream of the existence of an International Community in Belgium. We welcome them and wish them success in their mission.

Echo - 10/02/2020

- Sr. Shama Nasreen Chan was given farewell from Generalate community on 1st February. A meaningful prayer service and Holy Mass were offered to express our gratitude for her selfless service. She left for Pakistan on 6th February. Our good wishes and prayers are for her future ministry in Province of Pakistan.

Sr. Shama lighting a candle in thanksgiving

- On 5th February, Fr. Michel Christiaens, the parish priest of St. Gilles, had arranged a get together for all the religious priests and sisters in the parish, including:

  • The servants of Our Lady of Fatima
  • The Carmelites
  • The Missionaries of Charity
  • The Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary
  • The Daughters of Mary
  • The Scalabrinian Missionary Sisters
  • The Consecrated Sisters of the Community of the Word of Life
  • The Community of Most Holy Providence (priests and sisters)
  • The Secular Institute of St. John the Baptist
  • The Spiritans
  • The Xaverian missionaries of Yarumal
  • The Scheutist missionaries (Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary)
  • And a consecrated virgin.

About 45 were present for the occasion. It includes religious sisters, priests and lay people who help in the parish or in the mission. There was Holy Eucharist followed by festive meal. It was a very intercultural gathering as we are from different countries. All the participants were happy to meet and to know one another.

Celebration of World Day For Consecrated Life in St Gilles parish

- Sr. Lilly Pallipurathu from Ranchi Province is in Rome, following a program for formators which is arranged by UISG. The course began on 3rd February and will finish by June, 2020. We wish her a very fruitful stay in Rome.

- In Kimpese, Congo novice Sophie-Vianney Kaj made her first profession on 2nd February, 2020. Congratulations dear Sophie and best wishes for the years ahead in religious life!

Sr. Sophie-Vianney Kaj

Back to IAN

On Wednesday 22/01/2020, Sisters Fatima Peiris, Sushma Tirkey and the novices returned to IAN from Manila and found their house and garden covered with ashes from the volcanic eruption.

Immediately, they started to clean up the house and called some workers to remove the ashes from the roof. Though four men worked for the whole day, they did not throw away the ashes collected on one side of the roof. Sunday night, there was a heavy rain. The gutters were blocked due to the ashes, causing the mud and water from the roof to fall inside the house. The laundry, novices’ toilets and bedrooms were dirty with the mud. The laundry roof has come down a little.

There is a lot of damage that needs to be attended to immediately. Sr Fatima is trying to contact the contractor who built the house to get the roof and house repaired and painted.

Please continue to support our Sisters and novices by your prayers. Thank you!

News from Inter Asian Noviciate

Taal volcano, a volcano in the Philippines, has begun spewing lava, triggering earthquakes and emitting huge plumes of ash that have spread across the island of Luzon and beyond.

Ash began falling on Sunday, with 8,000 people being evacuated from the area near the Taal volcano which is located on an island south of the capital city Manila.
Scientists think a bigger eruption could happen soon.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology has warned that 450,000 who live near by are in danger if the volcano erupts as predicted.

Our Inter Asian Noviciate is about 15 km from the Taal volcano. Our Sisters and novices have evacuated this Wednesday 15/01/2020 afternoon to Manila. They will stay with the Congregation of the Immaculate Conception of Casters (CIC) there until the situation is better.

We kindly request your prayers for our Sisters and the people affected by the eruption of this volcano.

IAN garden covered with ashes from the volcano:

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Final Profession 2019

Ranchi Province

Hearty Congratulations and best wishes to all our dear sisters Prabha Horo, Sarojini Minj, Roshni Kerketta, Asunta Kujur, Shila Indwar and Martina Soren of Ranchi Province, and Srs. Rubita Narzary, Alice Chauhan and Susari Herenj of Delhi Province, who pronounced their final vows on 14th December at Nirmala College, in the presence of Sr. Mary Joseph, the Provincial of Ranchi, and Sr. Teresa Attupuram, the Provincial of Delhi. It was a day of great joy for all of us as we witnessed our sisters committing themselves to God for life in our Congregation.

JPEG - 8.9 MbMass began at 9.30 a.m. with a beautiful entrance dance by the hostel girls, followed by the nine Sisters walking in procession, slowly and solemnly, each holding in her hand a lamp which they placed on the altar. The welcome address was given by Sr. Albina Mundu, the Tertian Mistress. The Holy Eucharist was officiated by His Grace Rt. Rev. Felix Toppo SJ, Archbishop of Ranchi, along with many other priests. His sermon was very inspiring and thought provoking as he spoke about religious vocation and total commitment to God. He highlighted the importance of making Jesus the center of our lives and invited each Sister to do so.

The melodious singing of Sr.Sushma Ekka and other sisters, along with the hostel girls, prepared for the event - added meaning to the Eucharistic celebration. Many family members and relatives of the tertians, many of our sisters, other religious, and our hostel students were present there to witness this great event. Srs. Teresa Thuan, Maria Loan and Maria Hanh, the three sisters from Vietnam who did the tertianship with them in Ranchi, remained to share their joy. After Holy Communion, Sr. Roshni Kerketta - one of the Finally Professed Sisters -proposed the vote of thanks.

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All appreciated the hospitality of Sr. Lidwin and community and enjoyed the lunch lovingly prepared by them. Indeed it was their generosity and willingness to put up yet with another big function in between the Golden Jubilee celebration and the Province Assembly. All the sisters really worked hard to make this day a beautiful and a memorable one. The community is praiseworthy for its team spirit and hard work.

All the finally professed, filled with the Spirit of God are moving out to their new mission. We thank God for the gift of these nine Sisters to the Church and to our Congregation. We wish and pray that they live to the full, and remain faithful to the Lord and to the Congregation.



28 May - The long-awaited arrival of Sr. Erna

JPEG - 2.5 Mb In the afternoon of May 28, 2019, at Kigali airport, we welcomed Sr. Erna De Wulf, after several months of waiting for her coming to help us in our developing "Mère Placide School Complex". This school was founded in January 2017 by Sr. Mary-Paul Vadassery, Director, in collaboration with Sr. Charitine Impuhwe, Prefect of Discipline and Sr. Thérèse Mukandoli who joined them in the 2nd trimester as Secretary Accountant. As Sr. Mary-Paul was appointed Vice-Provincial, it was no longer possible for her to continue as a school principal. She therefore asked Sr. Erna to come and replace her in this position. Sr. Erna first spent 2 weeks at the Vice-Provincialate in Nyamata to get more details about her new mission and to apply for a visa and identity card in Rwanda. In the meantime, she also made a return trip to Butare where she met the seamstress who made habits for her to wear in Rwanda.
JPEG - 2.1 MbOn the evening of Sunday, June 16, she arrived in habit in Ndera where her community welcomed her with great joy. In each community, there were happy reunions with the Sisters who had known her for a long time and joyful encounters with the younger Sisters and aspirants.

On Friday, July 21, Sr. Erna received a warm welcome at the school by teachers and students in sports uniforms. Sr. Mary-Paul introduced Sr. Erna as the new headmistress of the school, with Sr. Marie-Claire Uwamahoro as the new prefect of studies and discipline. This welcome continued on Monday, July 24, this time with the students in their daily uniforms.

23 June - The sending of 5 aspirants to Butare for their entry to postulancy

JPEG - 86.3 kbThe aspirants and Sisters were very happy about this event which brought hope to the Vice-Province.

27 June - The welcome of our young Sisters who have come back from Mali

JPEG - 188.6 kbThree postulants from Rwanda have just finished their novitiate in Mali where they celebrated their first profession on June 23rd. Full of joy and confidence in the future, they came back to the Vice-Province on June 27. Sr. Enatha went directly to see her parents, both are very sick with cancer. Srs. Beatrice and Pascaline stayed in Nyamata, at the Vice-Provincialate, waiting for another great celebration: the perpetual vows of two Sisters and a silver jubilee.

June 28 - Feast of the Sacred Heart

JPEG - 3 MbThe whole community has organized itself for the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. After that, a festive meal and a joyful recreation crowned the greatest celebration of our Congregation. Praise the Lord!

July 5 - The greatest joy in Ndera! The perpetual vows of Sisters Marie-Claire Uwamahoro and Gaudiose Icyimpaye and the jubilee of 25 years of religious life of Sr. Marie Mukayambire

JPEG - 885.4 kbThe whole community of Ndera was mobilized to prepare this great celebration. Two days before the feast, the Sisters from the most distant communities began to arrive. Among them was Sr. Marie Mukayambire, the jubilarian who is in the community of Bujumbura - Burundi. The Sisters of Nyamata and Butare arrived on the morning of July 5. It was the joy of the reunion!

On the same day we had a very beautiful morning liturgy and the festive Eucharist at 10:30 a.m., presided by our Bishop, and concelebrated by 27 priests. Several family members, religious men and women and a large number of parishioners came to celebrate this double event with us. After a Eucharist of almost 4 hours, the guests headed to our “Mère Placide School Complex" where everything was prepared for the festive meal. The new postulants performed a traditional dance that was appreciated by all. During the meal, congratulations were extended to the Jubilarian and the 2 new perpetually professed Sisters. Bishop blessed us all before he left. Around 5 pm, we separated in thanksgiving and joy.

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July 6 - First communion in the school

JPEG - 5.2 MbAfter the Sisters’ celebration, July 6 was the children’s celebration. Nine students, well prepared by our Sisters Therese and Charitine, were ready to receive their first communion. They were there very early with their families. At 10:00 am, the Eucharist was celebrated by the parish priest in the schoolyard. Over the past few months, a good number of 4th and 5th grade students have rehearsed the songs with Sr. Charitine to sing during this festive mass. And for a family the joy was double because during this ceremony the little brother of one of these children was baptized. Glory be to God! After a small snack offered to all, everyone continued the celebration with the family.

July 20 - Installation of the new superior of Ndera

After the departure of Sr. Mary-Paul, Superior of Ndera, appointed as Vice-Provincial, a long waiting period was crowned by the announcement of the name of the new Superior: Sr. Thérèse Mukandoli. Another great joy!

JPEG - 1.1 MbOn Saturday, July 20, Sr. Mary-Paul came to the community, and in a beautiful evening liturgy prepared by our Sr. Colette, Sr. Thérèse Mukandoli was installed as local Superior for a period of 3 years. The joy continued during the festive meal and recreation. Just before the meal, Sr. Mary-Paul further increased the joy of the Sisters by announcing the names of Sr. Thérèse’s councillors: Sr. Erna De Wulf and Sr. Colette Uwamahoro.

This is how we have lived here in Rwanda from joy to joy in recent months. May the Lord be praised!

Sr. Erna De Wulf



Having completed their canonical year, the 2nd year novices were assigned to SCJM communities for three months for community experience, and also to experience the charism of the Congregation expressed through our works of charity and other ministries.
On December 6th, 2018 they returned to the formation house to complete their initial formation program.

In June, Sr. Adolphine Lukadi, the novice mistress guided them in a Charism retreat for 10 days.

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From left to right :
Front : Sr Rosette Milolo, Sr Christine Lukadi, Sr Emérence Bikuba, Sr Adolphine Lukadi (novice mistress), Sr Bertine Nyamabu, Sr Marie Claire Tshituka, Sr Blandine Malungisa
Back : Sr Marie Tshituka, Sr Rosalie Dibele, Sr Huguette Lakuwa

On June 19th, Sister Angele Benabiabo, the Provincial Superior, met with the second novices individually.
June 23rd, many sisters went to Kimpese.
June 24th, 2019, during lauds following a hymn to invoke the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and in the presence of the Provincial Superior Sister Angele Benabiabo, 13 junior sisters renewed their vows,
The Eucharistic Celebration of the day began at 9:30 am, and was presided over by reverend Giraud Mpindi Mwanza, Vicar General of the Diocese of Matadi, accompanied by twenty priests. The parish youth choir directed by two junior SCJM’s added to this celebration to make it a faith filled and joyous occasion.

A clothing ceremony of 6 postulants was celebrated to mark their acceptance into the novitiate.
After the Gospel acclamation 9 senior novices were called forward and to the rhythm of a hymn they moved to occupy the places that were reserved for them. After the homily they pronounced their first vows as a sign of their commitment to the Lord through the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary way of life. Following the Eucharistic celebration, a special meal was served to the guests and everyone enjoyed the cheerful atmosphere.

In the evening, after adoration and vespers, supper was served in the Father Joseph Triest Square (see the large community) to the SCJMs, the families of the new Novices and the newly professed of the day and their guests who were to travel the next day.


Arrival of the novices

On June 17, 2019, we left Kimpese at 5:00 am to travel to Kinshasa where we arrived at 10:00 am. On our arrival were warmly welcomed by all the sisters of the community of O.L. of Grace in Gombe, and we shared a refreshing drink, at 3:00 pm we went to the agency to have our luggage weighed in preparation for our flight. We returned to the community around 6:00 pm, where we continued the celebration with Sr. Angela BENABIABO, the Provincial Superior.
The next morning, a solemn service was held for us by the Sisters. Afterwards we went to visit the Brothers of Charity and their Provincial Superior congratulated us and encouraged us.

At 10:00 am, we left for Ndjili International Airport to board the plane that was scheduled to take off at 3:00 pm for Lubumbashi.
We arrived at Luano airport at 7:10 pm; Sisters Victorine NTENGU and Gisèle KANAILA were waiting for us. They were delighted to see us after many years, and we were taken to the Provincial House. Where we were graciously welcomed and received with joy amid singing and dancing we processsed to the Chapel. Sr Marie-Céline BULUNGU, the Provincial Superior of Saint Vincent Province, led the prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord.

Following the prayer, we were invited to the living room for some refreshments. Then we went to the community of Our Lady of Hope and on our arrived there at 9:30 pm. we once again received a warm welcome from the older sisters.
The final stop was at the Juniorate House where we would stay for 11days Sisters Beatrice, Gaudiose and Marie-Claire welcomed us very warmly.

During our stay there we worked and prayed until the long anticipated day of profession dawned.
Two days prior to our profession we had two day of, non-guided recollection during which we had a celebration of the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Profession celebration

On June 29, 2019, the very day of the profession, we led Morning Prayer (lauds) ourselves. After lunch, we prepared for the Eucharistic Celebration at the Parish of Our Lady of Peace, in Gecamines city.

Mass started at 10:00 am approx. The AMANI choir started the entrance hymn, the whole assembly sang joyfully while Monsignor Gédéon KAFUKU, the Vicar General and main celebrant of the day, accompanied by twelve priests, acolytes, and those of us who were about to make our profession as SCJMs, moved in procession towards the altar of the Lord.

Then came the moment when the Provincial Superior called each novice by name and each one answered: "Here I am".
The sisters to be professed moved to the altar while singing and each one made her commitment to remain faithful to God and to his Son Jesus Christ.

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The newly professed
From left to right : Sr. Cornelie KALUNGA, Sr. Solange-Clarisse MUEJA, Sr. Nelly KASHIKA, Sr. Suzanne KAD and Sr. Marie-Jeanne APENDEKI

During the homily, the Vicar General emphasised the importance of being faithful to the evangelical counsels and especially to the vow of obedience.
Following the ceremony of first profession, the ceremony of perpetual vows began. After a short meeting with the Vicar General, the two sisters who were about to make perpetual profession went to their parents to ask for their blessing. Once this was done, the two sisters returned to the altar where the Vicar General and the Mother Provincial awaited them for the continuation of the ceremony.

The perpetual and newly professed sisters were congratulated and welcomed into the Triest family. The Mass continued and one of the Sisters of the Province gave a vote of thanks before the final blessing, the Eucharist ended at 2:00 pm.
A celebration was held in the P.J. Triest room of the Tshondo High School in thanksgiving for the commitment and generosity of the perpetual and newly professed SCJMs. Alleluia! Alleluia!

Entry into the novitiate and first profession - Mali

This year, in June, two significant events took place in the Inter-African Novitiate, i.e. five young postulants, (two from Rwanda and three from the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC), entered the novitiate and seven young novices, (three from Rwanda and four from the DRC), made their first vows.


We, the first year novices, are very happy to share with you something about our entry into the inter-African novitiate in Mali.
We started with an 8-day retreat from 4 to 13 June 2019, on the theme “God’s call”. The retreat was guided by Father Gregoire Keita. He said that it is God who calls whomever he wants and when he wants. He has called us and invited us to joyfully follow His path. Our vocation is an experience of love, that is, loving God, spreading his love wherever the poor call us, and being loved.”

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From left to right : Julienne Tumone, Cécile Karamuka, Régine Ndaya, Francine Mukanyandwi, Marie Inès Mujinga

On the 7th day of the retreat, we had a night vigil, conducted by the senior novices, from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm. On 8th the last day of our retreat, we prayed the lauds at 6:30 am. After the prayer we were led to the refectory with singing and dancing where a delicious breakfast was awaiting us.

The long awaited hour had come, so, we proceeded to the chapel to encounter the Lord during the ceremony, which began at 10:00 am in our novitiate chapel. Father Emmanuel Dembele, Vicar General and parish priest of San, presided over the Eucharistic celebration, accompanied by 6 other priests who concelebrated the Eucharist. All the religious communities in the city of San were invited to the celebration.

In his homily the parish priest drew our attention to the clothing ceremony by saying: “As we have put on a new dress, in the same way, we should change our hearts and habits in order to start a new life. We should let ourselves be formed.”
After the Mass the fraternal meal was served in our refectory. After that, we enjoyed watching a Malian dance. We were happy to begin our novitiate formation with such a meaningful celebration.

In the afternoon, at 3 pm, we took a little rest and by 5 pm, we went to distribute the rest of the food to the prisoners.
After vespers and supper, the celebration continued until 10:00 pm. At the end of the day, we thanked all the Sisters for their prayer, accompaniment and support.

Mali, 13/06/2019
The canonical novices


On 23 June 2019, on the solemnity of the Blessed Sacrament, we had the joy of celebrating our first profession. We were seven: Pascaline Mukandambaje, Espérance Musua, Thérèse Ngalula, Béatrice Byukusenge, Monique Muisangie, Enatha Dusenge and Léocadie Twangizila to make the first profession.

Mass began at 9:00 am in front of the square of Notre Dame de Lourdes Cathedral of San, with the procession of all the Sisters of the Region of Mali. The Eucharistic celebration was presided over by Fr. Donat Dakouo, delegate of the bishop, Monsignor Jean-Gabriel Diarra who was unable to attend, and concelebrated by six priests.

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From left to right : Sr. Béatrice Byukusenge, Sr. Leocadie Twangizila, Sr. Espérance Muzwa, Sr. Pascaline Mukandayambaje, Sr. Monique Muisangie, Sr. Enatha Dusenge, Sr. Thérèse Ngalula

In his homily, the celebrant emphasized: “The solemnity of the Blessed Sacrament remains for you an unforgettable day throughout your life.” He invited us to be "Eucharist", that is, by the gift of ourselves to God, to clothe ourselves with humility and simplicity, following the example of Jesus Christ. After the homily, the ceremony of the profession began with a dialogue between Sister Cécile Ndaya, delegate of the Superior General, and the to be (newly) professed sisters, followed by the pronouncing of vows, handing over of the crosses and the constitutions of the Congregation.

It was a beautiful celebration. At the moment of entrusting us with our future mission, we sang the song of our consent and each one accepted graciously the new mission. Two of us, Sr. Thérèse Ngalula and Sr. Léocadie Twangizila, have been assigned to Mali. It was a joy for all those present.
We were anxious, at the same time full of joy. We are convinced that everything is grace and what is essential is to live for Jesus and to accomplish His mission with love and joy.

All the parishioners were invited to the novitiate for the fraternal meal. After the agape there was a time for everyone to exhibit their talents through dance and music. It was great! We thank God for the wonders He has already accomplished in our lives and we continue to rely on His grace to leads us on in the future in our new mission.

Mali, 23/06/2019
The newly professed


Before the D-Day, a conference cum debate was conducted by Brother François-Xavier, a brother of Saint Joseph of Mikalayi, followed by a time of entertainment with a football match between the teachers of our schools and the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary. The match ended on a score of one goal to nil in favour of the teachers.
Celebration of a jubilee is surely a time of grace and thanksgiving! We are therefore invited to contemplate on the wonders that God has accomplished through His handmaids, in the not so young mission of Mikalayi, St Joseph. We raise our hearts to you Lord in thanksgiving for the innumerable blessings which we have received without any merit of ours.

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The history of Mikalayi tells us that five missionaries, of the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, under the guidance of a White Father, Rev. Fr. De Deken, one of the two founders of this mission, left Bas-Congo in September 1893 to head for Luluabourg Saint Joseph, in Haut-Kasaï.

The caravan started their journey from Nemlao, a village near Muanda / Bas Congo, on September 2, 1893, and they arrived at the Mikalayi mission on January 20, 1894 after a long, tedious and painful journey of four months. It was indeed a journey in faith like our forefather Abraham, leaving behind the familiar and known and launching out into the unknown, relying only on the providence of God. It takes courage to answer such a call and risk one’s life for the Lord.

As soon as the Sisters arrived at the mission station, they found a group of hundred girls to teach and instruct and many sick to take care of. That alone summarizes all the activities of the Sisters in that place since then.

Over the years, new apostolates were added to the existing ones: the Lazaret, a place for the incurables and the elderly was founded in 1895; arrangements were made to place orphaned boys and girls in Christian families (1896) and started a dispensary; in 1923 a tailoring school (a sewing school) was built, etc. Education of the girls and the empowerment of women remained at the heart of the Sisters’ mission.

In Mikalayi, the first Girl’s School was begun by Sister Donat Olivier. This is the ancestor of the current Tusadile High School. The SCJMs thus became the promoters of girls’ education in Kasai. The reputation of our Mikalayi Girls’ Teacher Training School had reached all over Kasai. The boarding students were well supervised by the Sisters, who invited them to attend the prayers of the community.

On the medical side, not only had attention been paid to the care of patients at the clinic and hospital, but also to train qualified and competent medical personnel. Thus the nurses’ school (now I.T.M.) has been in operation since 1953. Today, as it was a hundred and twenty-five years ago, Mikalayi still remains the focal point of all the activities, with its important medical training: dispensary-maternity- psychiatric hospital, its health and nutritional centre.

In terms of works of mercy, the Sisters still keep all the works specific to the spirit of the founding charism: welcoming and caring for widows; organized orphanage and education of the youth.

JPEG - 104.3 kb A whole book will not suffice to narrate the story of Mikalayi’ and it can evoke the memory of all those people: Priests, Brothers, Sisters, Catechists, faithful believers, etc. who have dedicated all their energies and lives to the work of evangelization of the region, each one according to the unique gift received from the Spirit.

The Archbishop was unable to attend the jubilee celebrations so he delegated the Dean of the Parish of St Joseph, Mikalayi, to preside over the Eucharist. During his homily, the latter praised God for so many wonders accomplished through our pioneering Sisters; he also exalted and praised the work done by the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary to this day in Mikalayi. He said that it was due to their presence and efforts religious life is flourishing in Kasai today.

After the communion, the Provincial Superior recalled the 125-years of the history of the presence of the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary in Mikalayi, the cradle of evangelization and religious life in Kasai.

JPEG - 144.8 kb Sister Angelique Dikete, one of the General Assistants, delegated by the Superior General who was unable to be present personally, gave glory to God for so many blessings. She thanked the Sisters for their missionary commitment and the assembly for their presence and support. Finally the Sisters and guests shared a meal in fraternity. Everyone was overjoyed with the experiences of the day.
We were fortunate to have the presence of the Provincial Superior of the Province of Saint Vincent de Paul and a large delegation of our Sisters from Mbuji-Mayi.
We thank the Lord for all His blessings and graces. We entrust ourselves to His Divine Providence.
May He continue to lead and guide us in our endeavours in furthering His Kingdom in this part of the world.

Sister Angèle BENABIABO

Big celebration at the Mother House in Ghent

On the first of June 2019, 50 Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary celebrated the jubilee of their first professions;
We were blessed as 3 jubilarians celebrated 75 years;
4 Celebrated 70 years;
23 Celebrated 60 years;
20 Celebrated 50 years including Sr. Lucy Jacob, our Superior General.

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Unfortunately, not all of the European jubilarians could be present in Ghent;
The African and Asian jubilarians were united with their European sisters in heart and spirit. And all were remembered in the prayers of intercession.
Mgr. Van Looy, the Bishop of Ghent, was the chief celebrant and our Eucharistic celebration was graced by the beautiful music and singing of the polyphonic choir.
This was followed by cheerful meeting and greetings and stories of lived experiences;
a delicious meal was prepared and served by our lovely and gracious collaborators.

The years of commitment are accumulating, and so too is our enthusiasm and gratitude for everything the Lord has and is accomplishing here and around the world.

It was a joyful celebration of thanksgiving and jubilation.

Photos of the jubilee


On the eve of our New Entry into IAN (Inter Asian Noviciate), we started our day of prayer with the Lord, which had a meaningful and challenging theme entitled “You are not an Accident”.

We had a special opportunity to take time to reflect and to spend the day with the Lord by deepening our appreciation of our own lives and the gift of our vocations. It was said that my birth was no mistake, my parents may not have planned me but God did. He was not at all surprised by my birth. In fact, He expected it.

Long before I was conceived by my parents, I was conceived in the mind of God. He thought of me first. He planned the days of my life in advance, choosing the exact time of my birth and death. The Holy Scripture says, “You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book”. God never does anything accidentally, and he never makes mistakes. He has a reason for everything he creates.

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This was a wonderful opportunity to appreciate and to cherish the gift of our vocations and the wonder of our beings. We felt God’s goodness to each one of us. With this inspiring reflection we were so happy and our desire was deepened to give ourselves to the Lord. We found more meaning in our lives and the joy of giving ourselves to the Lord. We spent the day in prayer and experienced deep silence everywhere. We were completely in union with God with the guidance of Sr. Fatima our novice mistress.

The theme was so relevant for our entry into the Novitiate. Sr. Fatima enlightened us with her inspiring reflection together with some Scripture passages which enabled us to deepen our appreciation that everything that happens in our lives is according to the great purpose and plan of God for each one of us and every event is planned by God. “Yahweh called me from my mother’s womb, He pronounced my name before I was born” (Is: 49/1).

The words of the Psalmist and the reflection given by Sister Fatima deepened our conviction of our call as SCJMs. We were inspired to allow God to continue transforming us into his image and to be open to him and to allow him to pour himself on us.

Our chapel was beautifully decorated with a display of the words “ I have called you by name, you are mine ”. We had a very meaningful liturgy, conducted by Sr. Fatima and Sr. Jamila. During the prayer service we were given the uniform and came dressed up with the new uniform. Each of us received the Holy Bible, the Constitution and the Cross. Then we offered a symbol of ourselves with a meaningful prayer.

At the end of the prayer service, we were led to the dining room, accompanied by our two professed sisters and our two senior novices. They congratulated us and expressed their best wishes for a happy and a bright future. Finally we had grand dinner and recreation. This was an unforgettable day in our lives here in IAN.

Our group consists of seven, from different countries:
Two from Rwanda
Two from Vietnam
Two from Delhi
One from Pakistan

Janviere, Trâm, Thành, Roma, Esther, Tamanna and Jobita entered the novitiate on May 5th 2019.

Thank you and may God bless you.
( First year novices.)

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From left to right: Jobita, Thành, Roma, Tamanna, Sr. Fatima, Janviere, Trâm, Esther

Ranchi Province: First Profession - 18th May, 2019

Ranchi Province joyfully celebrated the first profession of eight senior novices: They were, Kerketta Renu, Gloria Baa, Cicilia Chutia Purty, Abha Tirkey, Neelanchal Reshma Beck, Manjula Toppo, Binita Kujur, and Julia Mundu.

The ceremony was held at the Sacred Heart school hall in Hulhundu. It started with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist at 9.00 am; the main celebrant was His Grace Telesphore Bilung, the auxiliary bishop of Ranchi Arch diocese. Nine priests concelebrated the Holy Mass with the Bishop. The homily delivered by His Grace was very meaningful and inspiring as it was very much related to the theme and to the readings of the day.

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The novices pronounced their vows with confidence and zeal, in the presence of Sr. Mary Joseph and the large congregation present in the hall. The ceremony was moving in its prayerful dignity and sense of joy, enhanced by the choir of sisters, novices and postulants led by Srs. Sushma Ekka and Josephine Xaxa. The presence of parents, relatives, friends and SCJMs from nearby communities as well as several priests and religious of other Congregations also added to the joy of all and in particular to that of the newly professed Sisters. Following the Eucharistic celebration, the new brides of Christ were congratulated and felicitated by SCJMs, friends and family members. The celebrations which followed were simple but enormously joyful. There followed a fellowship meal which was enjoyed by all. Indeed the day was very special, not only for the newly professed, but for the whole Congregation and for the entire Church.

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From left to right - Front: Sr. Reshma Beck, Sr. Nilima Kerketta, Sr. Binita Kujur, Sr. Manjula Toppo
From left to right - Back: Sr. Abha Tirkey, Sr. Julia Mundu, Sr. Cicilia Chutia Purty, Sr. Renu Gloria Baa

Jubilees celebration in Belgian South Province

For many reasons, the Beau-Vallon offers an ideal festive setting. So, for years, the jubilees of the Sisters of the South Province have been celebrated here. On May 11, we celebrated the jubilees in honour of Sr. Teresa of the Trinity, Sr. Maria-Felix and Sr. Benitia.

JPEG - 124.6 kb Thanks to two members of the pastoral team - Daniel, the organist, and Martine, the cantor - we entered the Eucharistic celebration as if in a branch of the Celestial Palace. One could not help but listen to the words of Father Jean Radermakers sj.’s homily and take one or two pearls from it. I remember, for example, this beautiful image: of each of us growing in the silence of our mother’s womb for nine months, so as to become, the synthesis of humanity’s long secular growth.
After the consecration, our inter-culturality was expressed, this was thanks to the rite of adoration accomplished by our Sisters from Asia and by the farandole initiated by our African Sisters, at the end of the Eucharist, to lead the assembly to the place where the aperitif was being served.

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After the delicious dinner worthy of the local Chief-chef, we took a moment to relax. But I can assure you that no one fell asleep! This was for a good reason... All those who were invited agreed to take an active part in a "tour of the Provinces", which engaged the healthy curiosity of each one. This was followed by joyful music played by an accordionist and his son.
Kim-Chi kicks off: she sings a Vietnamese song with a warm voice that captivated us.
Then it was the turn of Sr. Deepthika to explain one of the ways to welcome guests to their homes in Sri Lanka: they are presented with small portions of rice cooked in coconut milk and topped with dried fruit. She put her words into action, as she offers us the opportunity to discover its flavour before leaving Beau-Vallon. Del-icious!
Sr. Roshni gave us the opportunity to experience two rites in the Province of Ranchi: the pre-agreement of the bride and groom in the presence of their families, each of them successively presenting to the other a container filled with water, a sign of life. Our assembly was the witness group on this occasion.
This was followed by the rite of foot washing to welcome a host. But here, it was about washing hands...
Sr. Shama energetically takes us to Pakistan, or more precisely to the Indo-Pakistani border, at the time of the traditional daily rite of lowering the flag at the end of the day. We felt we were there!
Sr. Angélique and Sr. Cécile, dressed in raffia loincloths, sang a song of praise to us on an African dance step: a rhythm that made us dance sitting on our chairs.
Sr. Birgit proudly announced that the Dutch-speaking Province can boast of having a true professional pastry chef among its Sisters. To prove this, Sister had made us a big box of delicious cakes! Mmmm....
And finally, Sr. Muriel speaks on behalf of the Belgian South Province to tell us some tales with a real and tasty Brussels accent. And klett, Mariett!
But it wasn’t over! Suddenly our Sr. Germaine got up and invited us to sing together. However, the last word was really with Sr. Thérèse Renoirte who expressed what we all felt in our hearts: to each and all of us, THANK YOU! And see you next year! God willing.

Sr Anne-Marie Berckmans



SCJM, do you love me?... Feed my sheep!” (Jn 21:15- 17)

Every year, together with the whole church we share in the great joy of Easter. This year our joy was added to with the first profession of our four novices on 27th April 2019 - a memorable day for those who were going to be professed as well as for all the members of the Region of our Lady of Lavang of Vietnam.

The theme of the General Chapter 2017 was chosen once again as the theme of their Profession. For they were determined to give an answer to that touching yet challenging question of Jesus through their dedication to Him: “SCJM, do you love me?”. Indeed, it was done by their act of pronouncing the three evangelical counsels on that very day.

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Who could explain the feelings of four novices that day? After years of formation and discernment, four young and enthusiastic women were willing to say “yes” to the Lord’s call in the presence of their family members and the whole congregation. Although they were a little nervous and emotional, never the less their expression of love and dedication was firm and clear.

On that beautiful day, the words of the boy Samuel sounded repeatedly in the ears of those who were present in that church: “Lord, you have called me. Here I am”. Sister Roshni Barla, SCJM, the General Assistant, welcomed these four novices into the SCJM family by offering a chain and our SCJM cross.

The memory of the event that our Living God called His chosen people in the Old Testament came alive. We believe that from those moments, the history of salvation was flowing like a single stream. Yes, that very same day, a new page has been turned in the history of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, especially the Region of our Lady of Lavang in Vietnam.

The SCJM family has been blessed with four more members. These women voluntarily chose to follow the Lord in SCJM way of life - a life marked with simplicity and self-denial, in spite of their own limitations. Is that not witnessing to the world that there is something greater than material goods, power and position? Is that not making the joy of Easter become real and true?

The rite of Religious profession was solemnly celebrated in an atmosphere of love and prayer. Having been examined about their freedom to make this profession by the Rev. Bishop Dominic NGUYEN Van Manh, the coadjutor Bishop of Dalat diocese the four novices then prostrated in front of the altar while the choir sang Psalm 50. This has been always the most moving and beautiful moment of the ceremony.

They appeared before the congregation as sacrificial witnesses of love and the hearts of all the participants seemed to be drawn in the same destination. All joined in the same joy of witnessing the dedication of themselves in Religious life. Following that, each sister in turn pronounced her commitment to the Lord and received a cross which has inscribed on it “God is love”.

JPEG - 127.3 kb From now on these sisters will be living and witnessing to that statement. The congregation was overjoyed to welcome and congratulate the four newly professed sisters. In thanksgiving, Mother Mary’s song of praise – the Magnificat - was sung. The face of each sister was shining with joy and they radiated that joy to all who were present.

The Bishop, in His homely, focused on the gift of the call, beginning with Moses, then Peter, and our call. He especially invited all the newly professed sisters to be rooted in God, to have a greater love, for it is from God that we draw the Love and strength needed to do our mission. Every mission begins with the answer to the question of Jesus: “Do you love me?”.

The mass ended at 11.45 with an emotionally charged atmosphere and was followed by a sumptuous meal and beautiful singing and dancing and everyone enjoyed and celebrated the beautiful gift of a vocation.

Everything was good, we thanked God for His numerous blessings, and expressed our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all the people who had contributed to the success of this celebration.

Through the First Religious Profession of our four sisters, the JOY of the Gospel was manifested to everyone! As Pope Francis said in one of His Apostolic Letters: “The Joy of the Gospel is only discovered in the service to others: You will find life by giving life, hope by giving hope, love by giving love”.
(From left to right: Sr. Teresa Sâm, Sr. Anna Tin, Sr. Maria Hiền, Sr. Maria Hương)

Sr. Anna Thắng

Photos of the profession

Mali : New regional government

The Region of Mali has a new team consisting of Sr. Marguerite Tubale Matandu, Regional Superior (left), Sr. Rose Meta Kabambi (center) and Sr. Symphorose Kadd’a Tshiend (right) as councilors. The installation of new team took place in San, on 24th February 2019.
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New Provincial team in Ranchi - India

A new provincial team began its leadership ministry in the province of Ranchi from 23 February 2019. Sr. Mary Joseph Valiyankal (middle) is the new provincial superior.

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From left to right : Sister Albina Mundu, Sister Lidwin Mary Rodrigues, Sister Mary Joseph Valiyankal (Provincial Superior), Sister Elsy Joseph Vadake Vettuvazhiyil, Sister Susanna Barla.

Jubilee celebration of the Generalate


This year, the SCJM Generalate celebrated the Golden Jubilee of its existence in Brussels. The celebration took place on the 15th of December 2018 in the Generalate. Mgr. Luc Van Looy, Bishop of Gent, presided over the Jubilee Eucharist. Among the invitees, there were the sisters from European provinces who were part of the Generalate community to render service to the Congregation in different ways. Especially, the presence of Sr. Ludo Vercammen, our former Superior General, was a highlight of the day.
In welcoming the guests, Sr. Lucy Jacob, our Superior General, stated:

«We are celebrating today, the presence of our “Common Home”, as Sr. Christiane Dupuis of the South Province of Belgium called it the last time we gathered here (6th Oct. this year), in the heart of Europe. If the walls of this house could speak, they will have a very long, rich and multicolored narrative to recount: the successive teams of the general government, the passage of numerous Sisters from every part of the world, visitors of all kind, the countless meetings held here, the innumerable decisions made or unmade, policies defined and directives given, meeting and exchange of cultures, fun and laughter… one can go on.
Above all, for the last 50 years, it has primarily been a home to successive generations of leadership teams – of those SCJMs who have been entrusted with the mission of leading, guiding and animating the life & mission of the Congregation, taking forward the legacy inherited from our Founder Peter Joseph Triest and Mother Placide. The core of today’s celebration, as I see it, is this: the spirit that binds us together as one.»

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Photos of the Jubilee celebration

New vice-provincial team in Rwanda

The vice province of Our Lady of Kibeho (Rwanda) has a new team consisting of Sr. Mary Paul Vadassery, vice provincial (C), and Sr. Colette Uwamahoroand (L) Sr. Athanasie Mukangoga (R) as councilors. The installation of new team took place during a meaningful prayer service at the vice-provincialate, Notre-Dame de Kibeho, Nyamata, on 10th November 2018.

Vice-Province of Our Lady of Kibeho, Rwanda

Province of St. Vincent de Paul : new provincial team

The Province of St. Vincent de Paul has a new provincial team that was installed on August 1st, 2018 in the Chapel of the Community of Our Lady of Hope in Lubumbashi.

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From left to right : Sr. Jeannette Kaseka, Sr. Jacqueline Mushikwa, Sr. Marie-Céline Bulungu (Provincial Superior), Sr. Léontia Kabedi et Sr. Marie-Jeanne Kyuma.

New leadership team for Dutch-speaking province

The Dutch-speaking province has a new leaderhip team. You meet them here: (L-R) Sr. Anne-Marie Castelein, Sr. Birgit Goslain (provincial Superior), Sr. Lieve De Beul and Sr. Veroniek Ottenburgs. The installation of the new team took place on 3rd June 2018 at our Mother House in Gent.

Dutch speaking Province, Belgium/Netherlands

New provincial team in Sri Lanka

A new provincial team began its leadership ministry in the province of Sri Lanka from 02 June 2018. Sr. Ajitha Fernando (middle) is the new provincial superior. For Councilors, we have (L-R) Sr. Yogarani Rajaratnam, Sr. Malkanti Feranando, Sr. Patsey Pitchai and Sr. Lanka Fernando.

Province of Sri Lanka

News Update

SCJM News update on Covid-19 / Belgium / 22.03.2020

The Situation of COVID – 19 in the Areas of SCJM Presence

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