Handing on in Makondo
Important aspects of our life as MMMs are ‘reading the signs of the times in a rapidly changing world’ and being ‘alert to new needs and opportunities’ (MMM Constitutions).
In 2015, after twenty-four years in Makondo, our Sisters began a process of discernment about the need for our continuing presence there. In what was previously an underserved area of great need, there had been great development, with shops, houses, schools, and other health facilities. The local government had trained village health workers. The government also wanted Grade II health facilities to offer a wider range of services, which posed a challenge for sustainability.
In the reflection process, the Sisters were guided by our MMM Resource Team and involved the diocese, the health unit management committee and staff of the Makondo complex, local leaders and the local parish. After considering the resulting reports, proposals and suggestions, the MMM East/Central Africa Area Team recommended to our Congregational Leadership Team that we hand over the Makondo complex to the Diocese of Masaka.
The Congregational Leadership Team responded positively and our Congregational Leader informed the bishop, Rt. Rev. John Baptist Kagwa, about the decision in August 2016.
Sr. Maria Gonzaga, the area leader for East/Central Africa, met Bishop Kagwa to discuss the steps in the transition and to fix the date for the official handover. He was asked to find a group to take over the management of the complex and the Daughters of Mary Sisters generously accepted. The resource team returned in September 2017 to follow up the planning with all involved and an assessment of the financial system was completed.
Time to say farewell
Sr. Maria Gonzaga wrote about the day of the handover on 27 February 2018.
‘It was a beautiful day, blessed with rain until around 9.30 a.m. We had arranged to have Mass in the open, so this delayed us a bit as we waited for those who had to travel over the bad roads.
‘Bishop Kagwa celebrated the Mass with Fr. Ssekabanja, the chancellor; Fr. Katabaazi, the diocesan health coordinator; Fr. Paschal, the parish priest of Makondo; and Fr. Henry, his assistant. Daughters of Mary Mother General, Sr. Noeline Namusoke, and her council also attended, with the Sisters assigned to the new community. Our Makondo staff were there, as were representatives of our partners. The parish choir sang beautifully.
‘In his homily Bishop Kagwa said that MMMs are missionaries. After twenty-seven years the seed we planted has germinated, so it was time to take the Good News to other places. He thanked MMM for what we have done in Masaka Diocese, where we have been since we first arrived in Uganda. He was very proud of our contribution in the health sector. He then thanked the Daughters of Mary for taking on this big project at Makondo and promised to support them in any way possible to continue the work and even do more. He prayed especially for those who contributed to the work and have gone before us: Srs. Benedicta Nannyondo, Cate Nakintu, Maura Lynch, Dympna Hannelly, and Rita Hand.’
Stewardship: Sharing God’s blessings
‘After the Thanksgiving of the Mass the official signing of the handover report and the trustees’ agreement took place. The MMM Area Leader presented the bishop with copies of the handover report,
the financial reports, and the keys to the buildings. Bishop Kagwa emphasized that MMM had not sold the property and assets to him but had given them free of charge and openly. He thanked us for the wonderful, well-written, detailed and transparent handover report they had given him and for the open and beautiful handover ceremony.
‘Representatives of the various groups spoke after Mass. Following lunch with the visitors there was a tour of the compound with Bishop Kagwa. When everyone had gone, we went back to the convent. Led by the parish priest, we prayed with the new Daughters of Mary community. We said good-bye to the Sisters and the staff, and freely left Makondo.’