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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Halloween, Feast of Mother Cabrini, Form 5 pictures 121

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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Halloween, Feast of Mother Cabrini, Form 5 pictures 135

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

 

 

Happy New Year- Profile of a Child: Hlekisile

We want to wish everyone a very Happy New Year, and offer a story of hope and new life for the New Year about one child we care for.


This is Hlekisile. Hlekisile has one of the most tragic backgrounds of any of the children. Sometimes it’s difficult to talk about the children’s stories, but we believe it is important because it shows how a child can bounce back, and that there is a lot of hope for these children for brighter futures.

While her father was dying of AIDS, her mother was murdered, supposedly by the father’s family- she was accused of “bewitching” her sister-in-law. Her father died 6 months later of AIDS. After that, the eight children in Hlekisile’s family shuffled around between homelessness and the homesteads of extended relatives, starving and being severely mistreated.

We discovered the children homeless in 2006 on our home-visits. Hlekisile is the youngest, and she has some siblings in the hostel with her. She is 11 years old, and she is finally going to school. She is well-behaved and enjoys playing with her friends at the hostel. She is part of a dance group and a choir group.


Hlekisile needs extra love, care, and kindness, but you can see from the photos how she beams out a genuine light. We consider her a small success story because these kids are facing so much opposition in their lives- and just to have them go to a primary school is such a huge achievement.

Blessings and thanks to our wonderful community around the world for the New Year!
It’s been said many times- but we see it directly- hope for the future is found in the light and love of the children of today.

Love,
Srs. Barbara and Diane

Profile of a Child: Lomtsimba


Lomtsimba is the youngest in a family of eight children. She has four older sisters that are also in the hostel, and three eldest brothers who are on their own with their wives. Lomtsimba is 11 years old and in grade 4.

Both Lomtsimba’s mother and father died in 2002, when she was six. Her mother had been sick for some time when she was hospitalized, and the cause of death was due to a faulty IV drip that exploded while she was being treated in the hospital. Her father worked for a sugarcane tycoon weeding the fields, and also made traditional shoes. He was well known and well liked by the community, and rode all over the area selling his handmade sandals. The cause of his death is unknown, but he was suffering hallucinations toward the end of his life. (We often hear of the childrens’ parents suffering hallucinations and emotional disturbances before an unknown death. Perhaps it is actually the dementia that is a very unfortunate symptom of late HIV or early AIDS that they are suffering. Fortunately, antiretrovirals, the medications for HIV/AIDS, can prevent dementia in HIV+ people.)

After her parents died, the girls had no adult guardians to go to, and were on their own. The eldest girl, Nobuhle (also now at the hostel), had to do all the cooking and watched over the family, at 13 years old. A neighbor kept seeing how the girls were, and he reported their situation to Sr. Anna Maria (who was here at Cabrini Ministries at the time). They have been in the hostel since 2002.

Lomtsimba is active and cooperative with her chores and loves singing and dancing. She is a member of the hostel junior choir and lead dancer of the Ummiso dance, which is a traditional Swazi dance for young girls, that involves stamping feet with ankle rattles and singing together. Lomtsimba even made up her own new song for the Ummiso dance.

She is also a member of the Kwaito dance group. Kwaito is like dance music or hip-hop in the US. It originated in South Africa and is a style that is expressed through music, dance, talk, and dress. Some Kwaito music is known for ‘telling it like it is,’ telling real stories of urban life that are sometimes very upfront. There are many Kwaito dances and the Kwaito group tries to collect and learn different ones.

Cabrini Ministries sponsors Lomtsimba for school (there is no public free education in Swaziland). She is doing OK. She is very good at crocheting and likes to make sweaters and scarves with her sisters in the crochet group. She’s a beautiful child and we’re very glad to have her and her sisters here with us.

love,
Sr. Barbara

Lomtsimba is the youngest, wearing the pink butterfly shirt