KENYA: “May this Synodal Process help us go back to our Roots that are Synodal,” Appeals Theologian Sr. Josée Ngalula 

By Paschal Norbert                    

NAIROBI, MARCH 17, 2023 (CISA) – Sr Josée Ngalula, a member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission has urged religious women to reflect on the three concepts of synodality: communion, participation and mission as the guiding light toward their religious tradition of “walking together for mission.”

In an interview with CISA on the sidelines of the Synodality Resource Team Workshop organized by the African Synodality Initiative (ASI) and held at the Africama House, Nairobi, Kenya, from March 15 to 16, Sr Ngalula warned against the emergence of individualism among religious women.

She explained, “the individualism that has gained some aspects of life in Africa has also entered religious life. The wounds in the hearts from various individuals and communitarian conflicts make consecrated women in a state of no more journeying together in communion for the mission.”

The member of the Sisters of St. Andrew opined that Synodality is an African way of life and a tradition of religious congregations in the Catholic Church. Thus, “As African women in consecrated life, one great expectation for the synod on synodality is to help us deepen one important aspect of the tradition of religious congregations in the Catholic Church: walking together for mission.”

“All the constitutions, rules and spiritualities of religious congregations have the dynamic of walking together in communion for the mission, which is synodality,” she stated.

A native of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sr Ngalula implored that this synodal process should not only “remain concentrated on internal affairs of our congregations but also push religious women to be in communion with the whole Church in the discernment of the God’s will for the Church today.”

“May this synodal process help us go back to our roots, that are synodal,” she implored.

Sr Ngalula was in Nairobi as part of ASI’s Synodality Resource Team meeting to discuss how to develop a training programme of formation in synodal leadership for the clergy and laity to promote the practice of synodality in the Church.

The one-of-a-kind workshop convoked by Fr Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator, SJ, the out-going president of the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar (JCAM)and director of ASI included Most Rev Andrew Nkea Fuanya of the Catholic Archdiocese of Bamenda, President of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon (CENC) and a member of the Synod Council,  Rt Rev Willybard Lagho of the Catholic Diocese of Malindi, Kenya, Fr Anthony Makunde, Secretary-General of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA), Fr Marcel Uwineza, SJ, Principal Hekima University and Sr Anne Arabome,  Associate Director of the Faber Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Marquette University, USA.

Other members were Dr David Kaulem, Dean of the School of Education and Leadership at Arrupe Jesuit University in Harare, Zimbabwe, Prof Philomena Mwaura, Kenya, Dr Norah Nonterah, Ghana, Getrude Chimange, and Pardingtone Nhundu, Pan African Coordinator of the International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS) Pax Romana.