Our Novitiate relocated from Cameroon in 2010. We came to Nairobi with our bags and baggage to search for a long term residence. A lot of efforts and energy had to be used by Paskazia and her team. We initially began in rented property with 5 second year novices, the first year novices came in later.
Now, we have our own property nestled between the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA)and Tangaza universities. The formation team at present is Srs Donatilla and Marie-Claire supported by Sr Adeodata who is a full time student at CUEA. The Novitiate group, who are at this stage members of the DMJ, are totally hands on with the running of the house and the garden, this includes cookery, gardening, housekeeping, animal husbandry, IT, etc.
They also study with the formation personnel daily and follow a quarterly program which lasts a month at Chemchemi, a formation centre for religious in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Novitiate program covers two years and during those two years, we have a spiritual year which includes study of our own Charism, Constitutions and Spirituality together with psychology, group dynamics and Scripture. This is where the Chemchemi program comes in.
During the spiritual year, the sisters have one day a week for pastoral work. This includes caring for mentally challenged children, AIDs orphans, working with the catechist at parish level.
The pastoral year is a year spent in one of the other four countries of our Province, living and working for 8 months in a community, thus giving the sister an insight into the daily life of our communities.
The sisters have their individual programs as well as a community program enabling them to have time for personal reflection, prayer and Scripture studies, time for their own interests, those which pertain to community life such as cooking, shopping, gardening and community prayer.
We live in a very ordinary house and this lends itself to being homely. Visitors are often with us though obviously for security reasons, the walls are high and the gates are locked. This doesn’t take away from the spiritual joy and enthusiasm found at Van Crombrugghe house.
The eco-friendly garden is lush with vegetables, flowers, shrubs and trees, all helping give a welcoming atmosphere.
At present being the Congregational Novitiate, we enjoy the support of the whole congregation through letters, prayers, visits and emails. In this atmosphere, together we hope that we are living our charism of being instruments of mercy and compassion.