The twin celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the canonical erection of the Cameroon Province of the Tertiary Sisters of Saint Francis and the final profession of six of her members was a tale-telling event done in faith and gratitude to God in a serene and convivial atmosphere in spite of the tense socio-political crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic. The celebration took place at St. Theresia's Cathedral Parish Kumbo, on September 17, 2021. 

Three Bishops of the ecclesiastical Province of Bamenda, Sister Theodosia Baki, Superior General of the Tertiary Sisters of St. Francis and some members of the TSSF General Leadership Team, traditional rulers, civil administrators, priests, consecrated persons, members of other denominations and a cross section of the Kumbo Diocese Christian community made a great effort to be present.

In his welcome address, prior to the Eucharistic celebration, Bishop George Nkuo, host Bishop observed that: "Fifty years as a Province has been marked by spiritual growth and missionary expansion".

In his sermon, Archbishop Andrew Nkea of Bamenda Archdiocese hailed the Tertiary Sisters as witnesses of unity in a world of division. He also hailed the sisters as the pride of the Church in the Ecclesiastical Province of Bamenda for their eloquent services and for persevering amidst internal and external challenges, in consecrated life. He further urged them to greater collaboration with the Church's hierarchy, to seek first the Kingdom of God, be a family of love and care and to make the imitation of St. Francis of Assisi, a focal project for the next 25 years. Quoting from his predecessor, late Archbishop Paul Verdzekov, he decreed that Satan will not overcome the evangelization efforts of the sisters.

The six newly professed who consider their vows as a sign of their love for God, experienced the Church in a new context as "a big family" whereby, in the absence of their biological parents due to the armed conflict and lockdown, the Church provided foster parents to cater for them!

Sister Gloria Wirba Kenyuyfoon, Provincial Superior of the Franciscan Sisters, appreciated all the sisters, benefactors, Church and all people of good will who have contributed in various ways to build the Cameroon Province. She further invited the sisters to trace their own personal history and contribution in alignment with the big history of the Province and then figure out what more they could contribute to make the Province better. Nevertheless, she regretted the backward movement in the socio-economic life of the people, caused by the armed conflict in various areas where they serve in Africa: North West and South West Regions of Cameroon, Republic of Central Africa and Nigeria. "These challenges put to question our evangelization models for the past 50 years and calls us to do more."

The colourful liturgy, animated by the Jubilee Choir of over 150 choristers with melodies from various tongues and rhythms inspired all present. The lectionary procession and offertory gifts exposed the rich cultural diversity that constitutes the membership of the Cameroon Province of the Tertiary Sisters—various regions of Cameroon, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Central Africa, Morocco and Italy (Milan).

The Sisters define their mission to be an empowering presence in everything they do, thus they are open to every apostolate that enhances the dignity of the human person and give glory to God; such as healthcare, formal and informal education, administration of the Church's temporal goods, pastoral and social services, catering, agriculture, etc.

The Tertiary Sisters of St. Francis pray for the grace to continue to look to the past with gratitude, live the present with passion and to look to the future with hope, praying still for an outpour of the Jubilee blessings on all.

Sister Appolonia Budzee


THE SUPERIOR GENERAL'S JUBILEE MESSAGE

LOOK TO THE PAST WITH GRATITUDE, LIVE THE PRESENT WITH PASSION AND EMBRACE THE FUTURE WITH HOPE.
(POPE FRANCIS)

In his Apostolic Letter of November 30, 2014, addressed to all consecrated persons on the occasion of the Year of Consecrated Life, his Holiness Pope Francis succinctly outlined three main aims of the Year of Consecrated Life: "to look to the past with gratitude, to live the present with passion and to embrace the future with hope." The Golden Jubilee of the Cameroon Province of the Tertiary Sisters of Saint Francis is a golden opportunity not only to count our blessings and sing a litany of gratitude, but also a time to reflect again in a more profound way on how we have lived our religious consecration in the past, compare it with the present and prepare for a better future.

At the invitation of Father Francis Figl, Mill Hill Missionary, Mother Leonarda Felder, the then Superior General of the Tertiary Sisters of Saint Francis (TSSF) responded promptly to the
"mission ad gentes" call and sent five pioneer TSSF from the Mother House in Brixen, Italy to Shisong, Cameroon in 1935. From 1935 to 1971, the Cameroon Foundation was called "the Shisong Region." On August 13, 1971, the Region gained the status of a Province. The Shisong Region then became the Province of Cameroon with Sister. Felix Maria Malsiner as the first Provincial Superior.

As we look at the past 50 years, we recognize with immense gratitude that this epoch was characterized by great transformative and cherished historical events. We are marveled at what the Tertiary Sisters of the Cameroon Province have been able to do and are still doing in Cameroon and beyond. It is against this background that one can confidently say that the grace of the Holy Spirit has truly been with the TSSF and has worked greater things in them and through them for his greater glory. With the psalmist, we can attest to the fact that the Lord has "been our refuge from one generation to the next"(Ps. 90). During these 50 years, the Lord has been our stronghold and refuge, guiding and inspiring us to courageously move out of our comfort zones into unknown territories to continue proclaiming the Gospel message. Open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and attentive to the signs and needs of the times, the Province of Cameroon has in recent years responded positively to various calls to mission in the following countries: Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Central African Republic (CAR), Morocco and Milan in Italy. Dear sisters, in spite of the great challenges, you continue to bear witness to the Good News and to empower the people you serve in incredible ways. May the Good Lord continue to shower abundant blessings on you and the people you minister to.
On behalf of the TSSF General Leadership Team, I would like to express my deep gratitude to the past Provincial Superiors; Sister. Felix Maria Malsiner, Sister. Anna Nyuydini, Sister. Alphonsa Kiven, Sister. Euphrasia Yuh, Sister. Roberta Feh (RIP), and their respective councilors, for their vital contributions in the building of the Cameroon Province. I wish to sincerely thank Sister. Gloria Kenyuyfoon and the current Provincial Leadership Team, for all they are doing in spite of the enormous challenges. May the Lord who has called you to the service of leadership during these very difficult times continue to empower, sustain and bless you.

The steady growth of the Province is thanks to your love, commitment to service and determination to preserve and hand on the TSSF legacy. We are profoundly grateful to Christian Cardinal Tumi (RIP) our bishops, clergy, consecrated persons, civil and traditional authorities, the lay faithful, the TSSF companions, collaborators and benefactors for the indispensable role they have played and are playing in fostering the TSSF mission and charism.
Dear sisters, through the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Clare of Assisi and Venerable Maria Huber, our Founder, may we continue "to be an empowering presence through our ministries wherever we are." May this jubilee event truly be for each one of us a time to reminisce the past with gratitude, live the present with passion look forward to the future with hope and courage. Let me conclude with the admonition of John Paul II, "You have not only, a glorious history to remember and to recount, but also a great history still to be accomplished! Look to the future, where the Spirit is sending you in order to do even greater things." (VC, 110)

Happy Jubilee!
Sister Theodosia Baki,
Superior General

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