News of the CIB

Sister Judith Ann Heble, Moderator


In 2016 five superiors of English-language Congregations of the southern part of Africa were invited to the General Chapter of the Federation of St Scholastica in the United States:

Mother Ludwina Lesoalo (Benedictines of Christ the King at Sekutu, South Africa)
Mother Shukrani Mkondo (Benedictines of St Agnes at Chipole, Tanzania)
Mother Irmgard Poroto (Benedictines of Oshikuku, Namibia)
Mother Inviolata Kambanga (Benedictines of Our Lady Help of Christians at Ndanda, Tanzania)
Mother M.-Theodora Ntuli (Benedictines of Twasana, South Africa)

In the first place they were thinking of forming a federation. Later they decided to form an association. They thought this would better suit the Benedictine Sisters of Namibia, South Africa and Tanzania. The members of the association of African Benedictine Sisters of St Mechtild belong to autonomous diocesan Congregations which follow the Rule of St Benedict.

These are their objectives:

• To help one another preserve and interpret the Benedictine tradition
• To help the member Congregations maintain and extend their Benedictine patrimony and spirituality
• To encourage the member Congregations to appreciate their special charism
• To witness together to the following of Christ as Benedictine sisters.

In the course of the years they have continued to meet regularly. Sister M.-Theodora Ntuli, previously superior general of the Benedictine Sisters of Twasana in South Africa, is president of the association.

In July 2017 they asked the President of the CIB to help at their meeting at Oshikuku in Namibia to make a presentation on the CIB. About thirty-five Mothers General, prioresses, secretaries, treasurers general and delegates from each Congregation were present at the meeting, which considered the effects of tribalism in communities. Dom Boniface Kamishishi, of the Abbey of the Sacred Heart at Inkamana in South Africa, organised the workshops. He was an excellent facilitator, knowing how to work with groups and help them to participate in the general process. The participants went home, hoping to share with their communities everything they had experienced.


Meeting of the CIB, South Korea, September 2017

At the beginning of September 2017 the CIB met in South Korea. Six days were given over to meetings: two for the Council of Administration, four for the General Conference. In addition to the ordinary activities of the meeting, special reports considered general information on Vultum Dei Quaerere by Sister Lynn McKenzie, an informative report on the AIM by Sister Christine Conrath, secretary of the International Team of AIM, and a report by Mother Mariangela Yator on the communities affected by the earthquakes of 2016, with whom we had shown our solidarity the previous year. Delegates from different regions were also able to share the measures taken in consequence of Vultum Dei Quaerere, notably in what concerns the creation of federations.

Another point was important changes in each Region. Everyone was waiting for the publication of the norms from the Vatican which are to follow the Apostolic Constitution. In a continuation of the discussion begun in 2016, the delegates deepened certain considerations on the future of the CIB. One preliminary list was made, of persons and resources which could be useful to communities.

There was a meeting with the Missionary Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing at Daegu and Seoul as well as the Olivetan Benedictines of Busan. We also visited three communities of monks. In none of these visits could we have been welcomed more fraternally.

The coming year will concentrate on the finalisation of the programme and the organisation for the Eighth International Symposium of the CIB, which will be held at Sant’ Anselmo in Rome. The theme of the Symposium will be ‘That everyone should be welcomed as Christ’ (Rule c. 53):

• Hospitality in scripture and the Rule of St Benedict (Dom Martin Werlen)
• Hospitality within the monastery (Mother Maria del Mar Albajar; Sister Adelaida Ygrubay).
• Hospitality of those outside the monastery (two sessions, Mother Roberta Peluso de Oliveira and Sister M.-Theodora Ntuli).

Mother Judith-Ann will lay down her office of President of the CIB during the 2018 Symposium at Rome, after more than twenty-one years in this ministry. We thank her for her generous and effective service.