Fantastic Feast Day!

On the 13th of November, we here at Cabrini Ministries in Swaziland, celebrate our namesake and the foundress of the ministries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini. This year our celebration was made even more joyous by the addition of a much needed bout of rainfall! As the entire staff of Cabrini Ministries Swaziland gathered together to honor the life of Mother Cabrini, we reflected on the life of an amazing woman, without whom our work would not be possible.

Frances Cabrini was a remarkable woman who practiced great determination and perseverance in order to live her life spreading God’s love to those most in need. We are grateful to her and all she did in her life to make the world a better place. Siyabonga, Make Cabrini!

As it does every year, we start our Feast Day with a procession to the church carrying the statue of Mother Cabrini…

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We then attended a beautiful mass lead by Fr. Gaston, who was assisted by a few of our hostel children performing their duties as altar servers.

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Some of our hostel girls approaching the altar with offerings for Mother Cabrini.

After the moving mass, the entire staff gathered at the dining hall for some entertainment, speeches, and, of course, a feast!

Our Deputy Executive Director, Ben Kickert, kicked the program off to a great start, bringing up all the new employees that have joined us this year at Cabrini Ministries of Swaziland.

New Employees

“Welcome to the family!”

He then continued the recognition party by presenting staff members who have been with us for 5 and 10 years with a special gift and thank you from Cabrini Ministries.

5 Year Employees

And of course it would not be called a Cabrini party if we did not get to hear a few songs sung by our glorious choir!

choir

To send the entertainment portion of the celebration out with a bang, Grade 5 and Grade 6 performed a fantastic retelling of Saint Frances Cabrini’s inspiring life, appropriately titled Mother Cabrini and the Cabrini Way. 

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Here we see Bongiswa Nxumalo perform the role of the priest in the baptism scene of the play.

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When Frances was a young girl, she admired her sister, Rosa, very much and was always copying everything she did!

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Here we see Celemphilo Maziya and Ncobile Gumedze with their prop boats and flowers as they perform the scene where Frances explains to her sister that she is imagining that the little boats are filled with missionaries that she is sending off down the river.

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Here we see Mother Cabrini’s first voyage to New York City!

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“Siyabonga, Mother Cabrini” the children sing for the finale of “Mother Cabrini and the Cabrini Way”

And then…we feasted on a wonderful meal prepared by our very own Cabrini staff.
The Cabrini Staff ate, laughed, and cheered on the rain as it fell down onto our thirsty land.

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Grades 5 and 6.

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Simo Mamba in traditional party attire.

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As always, we are grateful, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, for all that you did for this world. We strive to live on in your spirit of peace and goodwill!

-The Cabrini Staff

 

 

Year at a Glance

October is always a busy month for us at Cabrini.  School is getting back into session, we often have visitors and it is the time when we transition from one grant cycle to the next.  While this means lots of paperwork and reporting, it also means we have the chance to take a look at the impact we are making in our community.

In the last year Cabrini has:

  • Served over 3,087 unique clients
  • Provide care to 710 Orphans and Vulnerable Children
    • 152 children receive a “total care package” (nutrition, shelter, health, education, legal/protection, psycho-social support)
  • Treated 2,377 clients for HIV and TB related issues
  • Administered 756 HIV tests and follow-up counseling
    • Overall rate of positive tests was around 30% with a distinct upward trend the previous two quarters.
  • Supplied life-saving anti-retroviral drugs to 1,258 people
  • Followed up on 1,258 missed appointments and seen 92.4% of clients return to care
  • Offered clinic care to 32% of Health Care Clients either on their homesteads or in their local community
  • Trained 125 people on sustainable agriculture and food security

 

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As with any organization that works with at-risk populations, the numbers are simply a gateway to understanding the larger impact that occurs in actual people’s lives.  The 1,258 individuals who are receiving intensive HIV treatment are fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, who would be dead but are now alive.  The 152 children receiving comprehensive care are vulnerable individuals who would be alone without intervention.  The 441 receiving academic support are the next generation who are being given a chance to succeed in life.  The 125 reached with agricultural training represent homesteads that will now be able to produce food for their entire families.

Every number has a person behind it and every person has a story of how Cabrini has assisted them.  All of this would not be possible without your support.  If you would like to participate in this life-restoring work, please consider partnering with Cabrini Ministries.

Love and Death in Swaziland – A Book about Cabrini Ministries

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In 2011, author Glenn Cheney spent a couple months in the lowveld of Swaziland to document what life is really like at Cabrini Ministries.  His account has recently been published as an eBook entitled Love and Death in the Kingdom of Swaziland.  This book started as a story about nuns and religious sisters living and working in difficult situations.  As such, it follows the experiences of Sr. Diane DalleMolle and Sr. Barbara Staley and their intense work over the past eight years.  But, it is not only a story about how the sisters have responded to the AIDS epidemic and the orphan crisis that followed; it is also the story of what day-to-day life is like for the clients and staff at Cabrini Ministries as they make their home in the rough environment of the Swaziland bush.

The book is available online for $2.99 USD and can be purchased at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Since this is currently only published as an eBook, it can only be read electronically.  If you don’t have a Kindle, Nook, iPad or similar device, you can still read it on your computer using a Kindle App.

This book is a great way to get the inside story of what goes on around St. Philips Mission and to “meet” the people who really make Cabrini Ministries function.

We are thankful for the hard work Glenn put into telling our story and think you will enjoy the book.

Overview of the Cabrini Ministries’ Work in Swaziland


Cabrini Ministries
P.O. Box Mhlatuze
Swaziland, Southern Africa

The Missionary Sisters have been serving at St. Philip’s Mission in the lowveld region of Swaziland since 1971. Today, they continue to serve at the mission running the health care services and outreaches, and boarding hostels or OVC children, as well as supporting the education program, agriculture program, and providing skills training. In recent years, efforts have been made to specifically respond to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Swaziland by expanding services to include:


OVC Hostel – established to care for the high rate of children orphaned by AIDS. Many of the children are compromised by malnutrition and chronic conditions such as TB and kidney disease. Children receive full room and board, as well as health care, and educational, emotional, and psychosocial support and other services. Children visit their homesteads and remaining extended family members often in our effort to keep them connected to their communities. Great emphasis is focused on nurturing the childrens’ Swazi identity.
Click on Care of Orphans and Vulnerable Children to read more about the orphan care program.


Home-Based Care – Started with a grant from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, the Home Based Care program focuses on caring for the sick and dying, testing for and monitoring HIV and TB, helping people begin treatment, and transporting people to the hospital to receive treatment.
Click on Health Care Outreach to read more about the health care program.


Education – The educational program began over fifteen years ago when it was discovered that many children in the homesteads were not in school and their families could not afford to send them. With the assistance of the Swiss Solon Foundation, once the children are on the foundation grant, their education is guaranteed through 7th grade if they pass. This increases their chances for individualized growth and better employment opportunities. A special tutoring program called the “Bridge School” program helps students study intensively to reach the grade level appropriate to their age.


Agriculture – In 2005, Cabrini Ministries established an irrigated farm. This project provides supplemental fruits and vegetables for the patients in the health care program and the OVC children in the hostel, and helps to create a sustainable income for those children and adults learning agricultural skills and maintenance.


Skills-training/Staff at Cabrini Ministries– Cabrini Ministries employs about 40 local Swazi people to help run all of the above works. Training is provided as well as income and other benefits for our employees. An aftercare program has also been established to help hostel children 18+ build the job and life skills and experience they need to take care of themselves as adults.