The meeting of the Federation of Carmelite nuns of French-speaking Africa was held in Kinshasa from May 3 to May 20, 2021. The federation consists of 11 monasteries located in 6 countries (Cameroon, Burundi, R.D.C, Congo Brazza, Ivory Coast, Rwanda). Twenty-one nuns were able to travel, defying all obstacles (only the Carmel in Guitega, Burundi, could not travel due to travel restrictions).
The elections were held. Sister Aténaïz of the Holy Spirit of the Grand Bassam Carmel was re-elected for a second three-year term. Sister Françoise Aimée du Crucifié of Kigali monastery is her first councellor and Sister Thérèse de Jésus of Lubumbashi, RDC, the second. Sister Marie Irène de Jésus of Yaoundé was elected third counsellor and bursar. Sister Marie Clémentine de l’Enfant Jésus of Kananga, RDC, is the fourth counsellor. Sister Marie Claver of the Good Shepherd of Cyangugu Rwanda was elected substitute.
Father General Saverio Cannistrà and Fr. Bergara, Procurator of the Order, reached the Federal Assembly on the evening of May 4. Father General gave a lecture on “Formation of Discalced Carmelite nuns in the light of the new directives in The art of seeking the face of God“, and answered the questions of the nuns present. During this Assembly, the nuns were able to reflect together on formation with a view to drawing up their own Ratio.
On the eve of Father General’s return to Italy, the Friars and Sisters of the Commissariat organized a great evening of celebration in his honor: food, songs and dances of the country formed part of it.
After the departure of Father General, Fr. Bergara stayed for a week to give a session on the contemplative life lived in actual fact according to the spirit of Carmel beginning from the latest documents of the Magisterium. The present challenges facing each of the Carmelite communities gave rise to many questions and meetings.
The Nuns had the joy of a fraternal visit from Cardinal Fridolin AMBONGO, Archbishop of Kinshasa. He shared news of his diocese with them and told them again how beautiful the contemplative vocation can be.