The Province of Namibia boasts of nearly 300 committed Oblate Lay Associates in five districts throughout the country. They are accompanied by the National MAMI Director Fr. Raymund SHIKESHO, OMI, and district leaders who facilitate, encourage, and support the many initiatives and projects at all levels. Namibia is currently preparing for a national MAMI conference, promising a structured approach to help coordinate the various MAMI activities.
Spirit of communion, prayer, and apostolate
The Oblate Lay Associates of Namibia are characterized by their spirit of communion, prayer, and apostolate. They express their passion for their ongoing formation in regular meetings that explore Oblate history and spirituality. They are committed to working closely with professed Oblates to “proclaim Christ crucified” to the most abandoned, and, as such, they are proud of their unique and vibrant role they play within the Mazenodian Family.
Working tirelessly for the mission and in service to and with the poor
The Missionary Associates of Mary Immaculate (MAMI) of the Swakopmund, traveled to Holy Redeemer Parish in HentiesBay with a mission to spread the flame of the Oblate Charism by sharing the vision, love, and spirit of the Oblate Lay Associates, who have embraced the Oblate charism, love for St. Eugene de Mazenod, and Mary Immaculate. As a result, their visit to HentiesBay proved to be fruitful with 5 new members, and this is only the beginning! Likewise, other districts throughout the nation are actively involved in similar projects, working tirelessly for the mission and in service to and with the poor and most abandoned.
Journeying with MAMI: My Experience
Mr. Laurentius Shilongo has been a MAMI member for more than ten years. He generously shares with us his journey of profound spiritual growth:
My name is Laurentius Shilongo, and I want to share my journey as a member of the Missionary Association of Mary Immaculate (MAMI) for over a decade. My experiences have been a mosaic of unforgettable events and moments of profound spiritual growth that have significantly shaped my faith and worldview.
During one of our retreats, the facilitator asked a thought-provoking question: “Why did you choose to become an Oblate Associate?” Everyone had their own reasons, but what resonated with me was the idea that our commitment was not just about what we could offer the Oblates but more about the personal growth we experience as members ourselves.
We have two or three retreats yearly, which are opportunities to learn and gain a deeper understanding of our faith. It is only when we know and understand our faith that we are able to share and impart it to the next person. One retreat focused on the theme “A Call to be Instruments of the Good News.” It reminded us that we’re like clay in the hands of God, with Him as the potter. His goal is to shape us into instruments of His love and to spread that Good News to the world.
Another retreat explored the desert experience of Jesus in the desert, emphasizing our dependence on God for survival amidst life’s adversities while stressing the heavenly wisdom required to navigate those “desert experiences.”
In Mathew 11: 28-29, Jesus calls us to come to Him, to place all our burdens on Him, and to learn from Him. After learning from Him, in Luke 10: 1-20, He then sends us out two by two to places where He Himself is about to go, that is, to the ends of the earth and to the peripheries of our own areas where the poor; the hungry and the marginalized are based in their many faces. It’s a calling we, as MAMI, can’t ignore. This is the foundation of the Oblate spirituality. We are taught to fulfill these roles because we have learned the Oblate Charism, so we strive to live it.
As MAMI members, we are privileged to live close to the Oblates, learning from them, and celebrating their ordinations and other joyous occasions. We often contribute in small ways to these celebrations, embodying the African culture of sharing and aligning with the teachings of the Acts of the Apostles 2: 44-47 on sharing possessions among ourselves and with the needy. In my decade-long journey with MAMI, I found the experience immensely positive and nourishing. My faith has deepened, my knowledge expanded, and my commitment to service encouraged. I am confident that the journey ahead holds even greater spiritual blessings.
“If the Son of God loved me so much that He suffered and died for me on the cross, why can’t I love him as much? (Eugene de Mazenod)”.
We pray through the intercession of St. Eugene de Mazenod they continue to grow in faith and understanding of the Oblate charism and spirituality.
Mrs Filippa Dina Amupadhi and Mrs Elizabeth Pahula