Mariya uMama weThemba Monastery
Grahamstown South Africa
In all our planning
to come to South Africa, we had no agenda beyond praying, living
the Benedictine life as best we can and running a Guesthouse ministry.
These activities we knew how to do. Brs. Timothy, Andrew and I,
Br. John all had experience doing them.
else we have done since arose out of this simple foundation. Our
life centered in prayer and in following of the Gospel as prescribed
in St. Benedict's Rule has opened our eyes and our hearts to our
environment here just 7km outside of Grahamstown. We have been awakened
in transforming ways. We have listened "with the ear of our
hearts" and have responded to what we have heard. We didn't
go out to find ministry. Ministry found us. We could not refuse
the opportunities that we were given to make the Gospel come alive
for us and for the people we have touched. We envision that this
will not diminish but only increase as the needs grow and as we
grow as a community both in size and maturity.
about our life and the life of the people in this rural area of
South Africa, one word keeps coming. It is empowerment. We have
tried to foster a feeling of value and worth both for each other,
for those who come to us and for our neighbors. We have tried to
provide fair chances and opportunity while trying not to handhold.
We have tried to nurture a sense of independence and confidence.
Our activities have ranged from making it possible for children
and adults to have a good education in the many excellent schools
and adult education programs in Grahamstown to helping women and
children get their rightful protection from the South African law
against the violence and abuse they have lived with all too long;
from supporting (and transporting) people in their journeys to sobriety
to offering some relief from the heavy and perpetual oppression
of poverty. And through our hospitality, we have tried to make all
feel welcome in a country when that wasn't always true and in some
cases still isn't, bringing much healing to look forward and not
hold on to the past. This empowerment is the gift that Christ teaches
us to nurture and of which Benedict continues to remind us.