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I share with joy these anecdotes of a life full of thanksgiving to God, from whom all blessings come. I met the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor when I was very young. The Sisters worked and worshipped in my village of Louanga, and they are widely appreciated by everyone. After finishing elementary school, I began to work with the Sisters in Koungheul for the promotion of women.

While living among the Sisters, I was fascinated by their welcoming attitude, availability, joy and their special way of relating with the poor. I was truly attracted by their simplicity and boldness. The Sisters won me over with their way of life and by witnessing.

Franciscan Journey

Later I started my vocational journey at Parcelles Assainies. This Franciscan community is in Parcelles Assainies, which is in the middle of a very animated neighborhood with a large concentration of people near the suburbs of Dakar. In collaboration with friendsand benefactors, the Sisters have developed a pastoral outreach to incarnate the charism of the Congregation: “to heal the wounds of Christ by healing the suffering poor.”

It is in this community that I spent my early years of vows, from 2003 to 2009, a period that would prove rich and decisive. After a period of discernment, I asked to have a temporary living experience with the Sisters to know them better. Then in December of 2003, I pronounced my first religious vows.

Sr. RoseSr. Rose

During this first year of religious profession, I had the chance to visit several villages in the interior of the country with the Sisters. I saw the poverty of so many women and children facing health problems. I was moved by their misery and lack of access to health facilities and quality care.

My dream was to study health care to help the poorest people, especially pregnant women and children. At the suggestion of my superiors, I faced my studies bravely in order to succeed and be able to train as a midwife.After four years at Saint Martin School, I received my diploma to be a midwife.

During my studies, I became aware of the social reality of Dakar with its transportation problems to hospitals during night shifts and other urban realities. It was not easy to be the only woman religious in my class. As a sister student I had to provide more by being a role model, thus facing difficulties with courage and providing an example for others to follow my studies and formation leading to consecration as a Sister.

A New Ministry

My community and I developed an activity for children ages 8 to 14 years old. The group is called Franciscan Rays. We try to live the word of God with the local children daily by the God of love and doing activities like dance and singing class, necklace-making, and endingthe year with a vacation week by the sea. What a joy for these children, who are like rays of sunshine!!

In October 2009, I left the Alleluia Community to join the Community Agape Saint Damiano of Keur Mbaye Fall in preparation for my final vows. On October 2nd, 2011, I professed final vows in the presence of our Congregational Minister, her Council and other guests, to serve Christ in the family of the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor and give thanks to Blessed Mother Frances Schervier and St. Francis of Assisi for my life.

On December 18th, I was assigned to our Emmaus Community that manages the Kounghuel clinic. I replaced our brave Sr. Angiolina, who has given her life to this ministry. With a team of ten people, we travel to the ten villages that surround the health posts of Missira and Koumbidia (within about 35 miles from each other).

We work with the vaccination campaign, weigh children, and treat the sick every morning. This area is very hot in the summer and during the winter the trails are impassable. These are daily difficulties yet we try to meet the people’s needs. We have a maternity ward at each post, and the women are happy to come to deliver their children since they encounter many risks in giving birth at home.

Sr. Rose at the Clinic in Koungheul Sr. Rose at the Clinic in Koungheul

With the support of our congregation, we are building closer ties with the people and are promoting the clinic so that we can fulfill our mission to the poor. I would like to thank the congregation for such special attention that is given to poor people, particularly in the rural areas, and to those that are disadvantaged.

Thank you to our predecessors who knew how to give themselves to serve Christ through the many faces of the poor and suffering. I am proud to be a Franciscan Sister of the Poor. May the Virgin Mary, faithful wife and mother, who is attentive to the needs of the poor, Blessed Mother Frances Schervier, and the seraphic St. Francis intercede for our congregation and our world.

Sr. Rose Ndong, sfp