The need for a comprehensive educational plan for women religious in Ghana

African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC)

Landscape photo of a country village in Ghana.

Each congregation needs a coordinated educational plan for the many young ladies would like to join religious life. Without such a plan, they might end up losing their vocation because of so many challenges in the world.

I have enjoyed the SLDI program which I have been in for the past year. Foremost, it was a rich experience to have an encounter with sisters from different congregations and nationalities. This included shared experiences during the learning process in class, group work, and interactions outside of class at meal time and liturgy. As I finish this program, I realize, beyond educational information, I have learned things which add to my personal growth. 

On the first day of this program, we were asked to recall someone who had a significant and positive impact on our lives. I believe ASEC will be one of those I will always recall as having a significant impact on my life. In the SLDI program, I can summarize my extensive learning as follows: knowledge of basic computer, learning techniques for mentoring, stewardship as a process of demonstrating a sense of responsibility for taking care of resources, integrity as doing the right thing, leading change in management, managing resources for the common good, strategic planning, and developing visionary mission goals.

During the workshop, our coordinators made sure that we ate well, prayed and studied together, went out for group sightseeing tours, and laughed together.  Classes were intensive, but there was an environment conducive for the serious studies which took place. All the materials to read for the topics to be treated were on our desk when we arrived.  Laptops were provided for each one of us. The facilitators were always available to teach us, and to assist us in answering our questions. They encouraged us to share appropriate practical examples from our ministries in which we were currently involved, and to think of possible applications to future ministries. For me, I felt all of this was a good on-going formation to reinforce our calling as servant leaders wherever we find ourselves.

I wish to say thank you once again to our ASEC benefactors, coordinators and facilitators who donated their money, time, energy and experiences to us, I say “Ayikoo!” (Well done). God richly bless you all.

To our Ghana coordinators and facilitators, Sr. Francisca Damoah, SIJ, Sr. Martha Atakruah, SHCJ, Br. Michael, HC, Sr. Juliana, SMI and Dr. Mark Mantey, I say "BRAVO”!

While grateful for all that I have already expressed, I feel the sisters in Ghana need more training in academic fields to face the challenges of our country and our world today. The educational system in Ghana is such that, without good grades from the Senior High School (SHS), you cannot continue your studies anywhere. This negatively impacts your future ministries as a religious. I am therefore pleading with ASEC, and our major superiors of the various congregations, to come to our aid by establishing an SHS in the ASEC program so that after the initial formation as a religious, the young sisters can be enrolled in this SHS to have intensive classes to enable them pass their exams well. If this SLDI workshop that we just finished were to be SHS preparation for certificate examination, we would have all passed!

Again I plead that our superiors, in collaboration with ASEC, assist sisters who have already attained their first degree, to continue studies in a variety of nearby institutions while continuing to work. This will enable the sisters to mature in carrying out multiple responsibilities. If we observe carefully, when a young sister is happy it is  because she finds herself well-grounded, that is to say, she feels prepared professionally  and is finding fulfillment in the life she has chosen. This strengthens her religious calling.

I am advocating in this article for acceptance consideration of all young women who feel they have a vocation to religious life, regardless of the level of education they have completed. There are means within our reach to provide all levels of education for our candidates. Each congregation needs a coordinated educational plan for the many young ladies would like to join religious life. Without such a plan, they might end up losing their vocation because of so many challenges in the world.  So let’s all work together for the greater honor and glory of God! Let’s get some comprehensive educational plans in place.

Be a Ray of Hope

Communities across Africa are counting on Catholic Sisters, but 71% lack the education needed to carry out their important mission work. You can be a Ray of Hope for a Sister who needs you by donating to her education today.

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Sr. Winifred Tovuor, SSpS
SLDI Administration Track Participant - Ghana  

Sr. Loretta Mulry, IHM

Sr. Loretta Mulry, IHM
Volunteer Editor - USA  

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