9 Benedictine Communities Meet for AGM
People in religious orders, “with their simplicity of life, can be a counter-cultural presence in a world of excess, luxury and consumerism”, the nuncio to Southern Africa told the region’s Benedictines.
Archbishop Peter Wells addressed the assembly of superiors, formators and delegates of the nine Benedictine Communities in Southern Africa (BECOSA) on the topic “The Holy See and Religious Life”.
The communities held their 27th annual general meeting at the Lumko Centre in Benoni, Gauteng.
Some 20 participants from Namibia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa were joined by Abbot Primate Gregory Polan, the highest representative of the Benedictine Order, which has about 22000 monks and sisters worldwide. It was Abbot Polan’s first visit to South Africa.
The aim of BECOSA is to promote unity among communities; to support them in faithfully living the rule of St Benedict in accordance with their own heritages; to make the Benedictine charism known in the local Church; to foster vocations; and to contribute to the life of the Church in Southern Africa.
Together with Abbot Polan, the group looked at their present situation, the joys and challenges of their communities, and of the Church and society in Southern Africa.
An important point was the need for ongoing formation, with the aim of growing in wisdom.
Farewell to Sr Reischert
The meeting saw the end of the four-year term of Sr Edith Reischert, prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of St Alban, as president.
“It really deepened my own Benedictine identity,” she said of her term. “It was a real pleasure to work and meet with so many dedicated people, who, as St Benedict put it, ‘prefer nothing whatever to Christ’ so ‘that in all things God may be glorified’.”
Sr Reischert is succeeded by Fr Robert Igo, prior of Christ the Word monastery in Zimbabwe.
“With Fr Igo, the group is blessed with an experienced leader, excellent facilitator and presenter, dedicated priest, exorcist, and psychiatrist,” Sr Reischert said.
Mother Mary Thomas Prado, prioress of the Missionary Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing, was elected vice-president, and Sr Patricia Dlomo of the Benedictine Sisters of St Alban was elected additional member of the executive community.