Ms. Magdeline Setsetse (MAMI)
Ms. Magdeline Setsetse is a member of the Missionary Associates of Mary Immaculate (MAMI) in Botswana.
She recently visited Rome where she participated at the General Assembly for the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul representing Botswana in her capacity as National President of SVDP. In this article she beautifully shares with us her experience of hospitality and gratitude to the General House community.
A VISIT TO OBLATES’ GENERAL HOUSE – ROME
It was on 18th June 2023 when I concluded the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul General Assembly and Election of the 17th President General, representing Botswana as the National President. As a member of Missionary Associates of Mary Immaculate (MAMI), I felt it appropriate to visit the Oblates General House before returning back home.
The welcoming and hospitality I received from my Oblate Brothers was overwhelming. They treated me like a Queen, indeed I felt like a queen that week. The other exceptional experience was the sense of Community in the house. All my brothers pray together, celebrate the Holy Eucharist together and eat together. This is done collectively without seniority, race or position. It was humbling to be amongst so many men of God and sharing their routine and Spirituality with so much ease.
I have always been attracted to the Charism of St Eugene de Mazenod, evangelizing the poor and the marginalized but never experienced the diversity of our Oblate Brothers from different parts of the world staying together as a family. Indeed, the Mazenodian family is a unique and lifestyle project.
A tour of their magnificent house covers all that the OMI Founders had in mind when they started the Mission. The Chapel, as big as some of our local churches, with a beautiful Statue of our Mother Mary and our Patroness. Another highlight was the Archives and Record Keeping Studio. In this special place, the first hand written letters by St Eugene to the Pope then, are still safely kept. The amount of record keeping from all over the world is amazing. I bet, had I requested to see records for when Oblates started in Botswana, they would have pulled them out easily. Keep up this history Oblates, it means a lot about your vocation.
Allow me to single out my host, Rev. Fr Kapena Shimbome, OMI, General Councilor for Africa/Madagascar. I don’t know how to express my gratitude and appreciation for his selfless hosting. He dedicated his whole time that week to take me and show me most of the holy places in Rome. I have been to Rome before on a Pilgrimage, but this time it was exceptional. We had all the time to pray and understand the history behind the magnificent Basilicas that we visited.
The highlight of the many places that we visited was the visit to Assisi. I have never felt so blessed and anointed by being in a place where great men and woman of God grew up and walked in the streets that they used in their time. Saint Francis of Assisi, one of the venerated religious figures of the Catholic Church and one of the Patron Saints for Italy.
Saint Clare of Assisi, the founder for Order of Poor Ladies, currently known as Poor Clares. My first encounter with the Sisters of Poor Clares was in Namibia in 2004. I couldn’t understand how young and old Reverend Sisters walked bare footed, sat on the floor without mats with so much humility. I have been to the root of their Religious vocation, now it is clearer. I always make a turn at their Convent at Brakwater, Windhoek whenever I visit Namibia.
I wish I had all the English words to express my appreciation for the hospitality I got from my Oblate Brothers. You are a God chosen Community. I am proud to be a Lay Associate Member of this family. We keep praying for more young men to discern and answer the Vocation to join Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI). THANK YOU, THANK YOU AND THANK YOU MY OBLATE BROTHERS.