Province of South Africa – Provincial House Superior

hspace=5Many of you are familiar with Brother Andrew Fournier. At the mean time he is a Superior at the Provincial House in Lilongwe. This time he was welcoming Brothers Barry and Antoine who arrived at different dates from Rome. They are facilitating on the Horizon workshop at Nyungwe Carmelite Retreat Centre in the Southern Malawi He had taken them to Likuni Boys secondary, showing them the one of our city schools.

At this moment they were struck with some work going on. One element of being human is to be fascinated and amazed and trying to figure out how things can go that far. New technology has a lot to amuse us. Mind you, Barry and Antoine were our formators in Kenya and are very instrumental in that area. Some of us must have met them at Manziana, in Italy during second noviciate or third age courses. It was an honour to meet them again. Welcome to the Warm Heart of Africa. Antoine told us bad news of his traveling. Yes, traveling can bring good news but at times we experience a bad part of it too. St. Paul too had some bad news in his travellings and Enrique too had bad experiences at one time and I suppose so many other brothers.

Brother Andrew Fournier has a sense of humour and mixes easily with all people. I once went shopping with him. I discovered that he brings joy to people in public shops. After being in administrations of diverse types, it seems so natural to him to offer a hand where there is a gap that needs special service. He is so elastic that he can be stretched to cover the responsibilities of a good number of us. At the same time he speaks his mind when he sees the work is too much. I know he is not in the thirties like most of us but still makes himself available. Keep it up our dear brother, you inspire us with a happy life that is so contagious.

Mind you , he has time for the chapel too. Many times l met him there very early in the morning. Then you would see him switching off the lights and opening places that have to be opened before the workers come. Keeps keys where only reliable and house members know. It is a top secret of the house and being in the city it is very important as the thieves can easily get access to the house and getting away with our treasures as they have done many times before. As they say experience is the best teacher. Br. Picard has a long a story to tell about this House when he was the Superior.

As the day grows, he makes sure there is enough food to cater for all who might pop in at any time of the day. We used to gather for snacks before the main evening meal in the form of jaw breaks or any form of drink. It seems part of the tradition soon after evening prayers. It brings the brothers together and share stories of the day Farewells too follow the same pattern.

I was struck to see that he prepares supper for us all everyday. The time l was there, green maize was another frequent dish. Of course you are assured of soup.

It is one place where l see Brothers washing the dishes. In other words, the whole community is engaged and those who might be extra busy, they always say a word. Here people work like bees, each one taking part and making a good contribution. It gives you a different flavour of being a brother.

When l was teaching some 15 years ago, l read a book called Bwampini. Inside it there is a phrase called, ? Kusachokeka?, a place where one feels like remaining there forever. The treatment we receive at the Provincial House, especially those of us who had a chance to pass that way of late, gives you the impression that you have to stay on for a while. No wonder l hang on there until my return time arrived. Dostie is in the same community too and does the communication professionally. Yes he participates in the other tasks of the house l have just mentioned. The young Brother Vincent will learn from there many things, firstly how to cook and secondly how to welcome people with joy and others he will discover by himself. To all of you members of the community, receive a vote of thanks from me and may Our Good Lord keep you company as marvelous companions as you live to the full our Marist Brotherhood. You all have our credit. God bless.

Br. Simeon Banda


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