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Thursday, July 24, 2014

July 24, 2014

Let me just add something quickly. I am sitting in the dark and trying to make sure that I hit the right keys. Last Saturday there was an ordination at the Cathedral here in Mariannhill. The sanctuary was filled with more than 80 priests. I was one of them. The choir, as was expected, was marvelous. The church was packed with standing room outside. But aside from the solemnity of the occasion, I was struck by the fact that of those more than 80 priests, there were only three white faces in that bunch, and, again, I was one of them. At 79 yrs. I am sure that I was the oldest there. However, when I arrived in SA back in 66, at a function like this, there would have been 80 or so priests and they would all have been white, except for one of two black faces. What does that mean? Well, it could mean that we did our job. We came to build the local church and there you have it. So now I don’t have to feel guilty about retyring. What do you think?

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Actually it is now July 17the but I can't remember when I last included all this in my blog. Hey, try not to get old. Ha.
 
It is now July 2nd. Time flies. I think I have to fast forward to June 26th.(Then, if I have a chance, I will fill in before that).

    A funeral. On June 15th. One of our elderly sisters, Sr. Mary Paule, originally from Idaho, who joined the CPS (Precious Blood Sistrers) way back in the late 40’s, came out to South Africa around “52 and taught at one of our Catholic Schools, Mariazell, from ’55 to ’74. She was a great teacher teaching English. Then she came to Mthatha and got involved in social work and eventually started something like 21 NGO’s mostly for children and battered women. 82 yrs. old this yr. She was busy delivering goodies to Thembalihle Home (for abused children) when she was spotted by a couple of young gangsters who grabbed the keys from her, shoved  her into the back seat and drove off with her and one of them in the back seat and the other speeding off. A gun was pointed at her and she was trying to tell the driver to slow down, frightened to death. As a matter of fact, she tried to get them to stop the car because she felt that she was having a heart attack. They kept going and, yes, she passed away, probably literally frightened to death. They must have damaged the care somehow as they were driving kind of wild and eventually dumped her now dead body, fully clothed as a nun with a white habit, into a ditch with water and went on their way. They had been driving in one direction with the intention to rob some stores but it was Sunday and all the stores were closed and locked tight so they went back to town and were driving around with this now damaged car and were spotted by friends who knew her car and who gave chase after informing the police. The two crashed the car and fled. The others waited for the police to come. When they went into the car, they guys were in such a hurry that they left a cell phone and a gun. The cell phone led the police to their home and eventually to them and their arrest. The will be up for bail on July 4th.

     I swear that there were about 2000 people at the funeral, representing many NGO’s most of which she had started and supported up till her death. She was…

 

July 16, 2014

     I am so far behind I will never catch up. So much has been happening that It is hard to keep up. I can’t remember the date now but about a month ago, even before the funeral of Sr. Mary Paule, someone rear-ended me and after the police report and the insurance and the panel beaters  the final decision was that the car was a write off. In the meantime, thank goodness, the insurance covered a rent-a-car from Avis so I had some wheels to continue what things I had to do. I was offered R35,000 for the car or I could talk to the panel beaters and ask them to buy the wreck and try to fix it. But then the panel beaters would only offer me R14,000 for the wreck but wanted R27,00 to fix it (however it would be fixed!!!) I took the R35,000 but discovered that there are not many vehicles on the market for that low a price (it would be the equivalent of $3500) So you can imagine. In the meantime I was able to continue my visits to the sick as well as the Sunday commitments. Then I took another trip to Mthatha for several important meetings, one of them being with Fr. Guy and the lawyer, Jerome, about the appeal to the commission in Rome that deals with religious against the unilateral decision, taken without discussion or consultation (as is supposed to be the case according to our constitutions), to down grade our province to a ‘region”, including the appointment of a “ new” provincial and some councilors. What a rotten trick to get rid of Fr.Guy in a back –handed way.  In any case we also had a nice meal with Mike McNamara and Malcolm Grant who have helped us immensely in our Bedford Project. They are now having a huge project in Nigeria and were only here for that week and would be going away again soon and this was their only chance to get Fr.Guy and myself together before Guy heads back to Canada at the beginning of August. It gave me a chance, too, to check into the insurance of Nomonde’s new car to get a better deal, and to bring Nothemba (from Landsend) to town to connect her with our new IT man, one of Guy’s boys, so that she could get her printer fixed and maybe find out how to get on the internet. I also managed to see Sinovuyo who had just come back from Germany and was very happy and could connect him with someone who would help to market his goods (he is a self-made tailor and does beautiful stuff.) On the way back I stopped at the dealer where we got Nomonde’s  car as he had promised a good  used car (now it is euphemistically called “pre-owned”)  but the deal fell through when the guy asked more that I was able to give. To cut a long story short, on the 11th of July I got a confirmation from a guy I had contacted on the internet to sell his vehicle to me for R35,000. He wanted R38,000 but I said I didn’t have it so he agreed to R35,000. On Sunday, the 13th,  We clinched the deal and he brought the car (which we had seen and test-driven on Saturday with a friend who knows cars and approved) and left it here. That afternoon I returned the rent-a-car to Avis as it was the last day to use the car—the 30 days were up.

     This week I have been going up the hill to the Augustinian Sisters at Jacob’s Well, a retreat center overlooking a breathtaking view of the valley of a thousand hills each morning for Mass and 9am (not my usual time as you know). On Monday I went to get the roadworthy clearance and they found a few things wrong that needed fixing before I could take it for registering. On Tuesday, I took it to get those things fixed and got the COR as they call it. On Wednesday, today, I go the thing registered—two hours in the queue. Holy Moses. By the time I finally got to the window, I was ready to burst my bladder. Luckily I could rush out with the precious papers and find a tree just in time. Ha. Don’t laugh. You will get your turn one day.

     Then I had to get the new license plates this afternoon and now I am finished. Hooray. Tomorrow another trip up to the sisters and Friday and then Saturday an ordination here at Mariannhill—two of our young men. We have been waiting for them. Sunday I will be at Savannah Park again with the fledgling community so we are back on track. I think that that is enough for now. We have had another wi-fi installed today and at first it was working fine but then it just fell apart and there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. Nothing works now. I am writing this offline and, maybe tomorrow, if we manage to get back on line, I will send it out. So, for now, have a great day. Never a dull moment. Love and Peace, Cas

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July 3rd (I don't know where I am at now_

Dear Everyone,                                                                                                                     June 14, 2014

Hey, lots of water over the dam since I last entered something in my blog, way back in May . Let me start with May 14th . I returned from a very relaxing and informative 12 days in Zibabwe. My car was delivered back to me that night with some improvements.  On the 15th I got my computer back from Shirley’s son, Peter, again, with some improvements. On the 16th I collected a bunch of old clothes and off cuts to be taken to Landsend for use by the poor there. I stopped to fill up with petrol in the afternoon (for the trip on the 17th to Mthatha—about 300 miles or 5 hours driving). When the tank was full and I wanted to pull off, it wouldn’t start. The guys at the petrol station said it was definitely the battery and phoned a battery place to order a battery for only R980 or so. But, unfortunately (for them) he had no transport to deliver. So they scouted around a bit more and tried using the jumper cables to get it started but that didn’t work either. So they said I needed a new starter (changing their tune from battery to starter motor). I asked them to just give me a push and let me get back to the monastery which they did. The car was full up with used clothing and off cuts and, since it wouldn’t start, I parked in on a slight incline because I was determined to head for Mthatha in the morning.

     I arrived in Mthatha , never turning off the engine till I got there and made arrangements with our mechanic to see him on Monday to see if he could fix it. I slept at Bedford that night and kept my fingers crossed that it would start in the morning, which it did. I had Mass with Fr. Guy at Sabelani Sun. morning and visited the sisters at the convent in Mthatha. Car wouldn’t start and I had to get the confreres from Abbot Francis to push it (backwards) and it started easily. I managed to get out to Landsend to leave the old clothes and off cuts there, seeing Nothemba and Sinovuyo. Parked on a hill and needed it to start. Frustrating. 

On Monday, the 19th May, we had our big CMM meeting with the superior general and his councilor where CMM things were discussed, especially the matter of Guy and the bishop. Too much talk and not much else. However, the Superior General had visited the bishop and the bishop sent a message to the SG that he would like to see Guy and his lawyer to meet with himself and his lawyer. This was progress. We had a braii (cook out) and just relaxed a bit and discussed, informally, what had been discussed formally in the meeting. (I had taken the car to the garage before the meeting and it was diagnosed as needing a small part but a part that would not be sold separately from the whole starter motor.There you are.  So he ordered a starter motor and by the time I was leaving on Wednesday, it still wasn’t there so I told him to cancel it and I would take it to a friend in Durban who would have a look at it)

That evening I spent with Guy and the boys at Sabelani (home for boys) and slept there and again on Tuesday night. ON Wed. morning we organized a 7am meeting with Mr. Sachin, the troubleshooter from Eskom (electricity supply) to solve some problems (we have been working on these problems for more than 2 yrs.( and then I headed back to Mariannhill. I stopped on the way to visit a friend whose  arches had collapses on both feet and he couldn’t walk.One had bee repaired earlier but this one needed special surgeryand he had a big boot on his right foot that he would have to wear fro a couple ofmonths.That was on the 21st. The car continued to start or not start, like Russian roulette. Mostly it started but you had to be wary and prepared.

I slid back into my usual routine for Friday and on Saturday I took Bishop (emeritus) Lobinger to the airport for his home leave trip to Germany. I spent the morning with the friend who specializes in helping Cas, and fixing Opel Astras. He fixed the problem with the starter and when I was ready to go home to fetch the bishop and take him to the airport, ha, it wouldn’t start again. So he had to crawl around under the car till he found what the problem was and  fixed it. I was sweating because we were cutting it rather fine for getting  the bishop to the airport.

On Sunday, the 25thMay, I took one of the sisters from the hospital to Savannah Park to get her involved with the community and to give them a chance to see a real live, active, young(er) nun. She was then invited to join their choir and since she is the head matron of the hospital, she has her own transport so she is free to drive herself if she wants. We then went to a home for a nice bryani lunch. And then home.

From Monday 26thMay to Wed. 28th May, I attended a workshop on Leadership and Ethics at Glenmore Center, a conference center in Durban. I won’t go into details but it was presented by a prof. from Chicago, an Italian American, and he could easily have been a stand up comedian, which made his lectures enjoyable and interesting but, too American. I felt that many of the references that he made (like Saturday Night Live) went over the heads of many of the African participants, and he talked way too fast especially with his American Chicago accent. Otherwise his presentation were lively and excellent. One of the things that came up was that one of the virtues that is often lacking in leaders is humility, being able to admit that they made a mistake.

On the 29th May, I picked up some copies of the wedding brochure which I had suggested to my cousin’s daughter for the wedding in September in Milwaukee. After that I took one of our students to the prison to visit his brother who is one of 4 or 5 accused of murdering one of our priests at his mission. That was 4 yrs. ago and the trial is still going on. They were supposed to hear their sentences the next week but it was postponed, again, till August. Holy Moses. They have been in jail all this time without being sentenced. What the heck is going on

It is now July 2nd. Time flies. I think I have to fast forward to June 26th.(Then, if I have a chance, I will fill in before that).
    A funeral. On June 15th. One of our elderly sisters, Sr. Mary Paule, originally from Idaho, who joined the CPS (Precious Blood Sistrers) way back in the late 40’s, came out to South Africa around “52 and taught at one of our Catholic Schools, Mariazell, from ’55 to ’74. She was a great teacher teaching English. Then she came to Mthatha and got involved in social work and eventually started something like 21 NGO’s mostly for children and battered women. 82 yrs. old this yr. She was busy delivering goodies to Thembalihle Home (for abused children) when she was spotted by a couple of young gangsters who grabbed the keys from her, shoved  her into the back seat and drove off with her and one of them in the back seat and the other speeding off. A gun was pointed at her and she was trying to tell the driver to slow down, frightened to death. As a matter of fact, she tried to get them to stop the car because she felt that she was having a heart attack. They kept going and, yes, she passed away, probably literally frightened to death. They must have damaged the care somehow as they were driving kind of wild and eventhally dumped her now dead body, fully clothed as a nun with a white habit, into a ditch with water and went on their way. They had been driving in one direction with the intention to rob some stores but it was Sunday and all the stores were closed and locked tight so they went back to town and were driving around with this now damaged car and were spotted by friends who knew her car and who gave chase after informing the police. The two crashed the car and fled. The others waited for the police to come. When they went into the car, they guys were in such a hurry that they left a cell phone and a gun. The cell phone led the police to their home and eventually to them and their arrest. The will be up for bail on July 4th.

     I swear that there were about 2000 people at the funeral, representing many NGO’s most of which she had started and supported up till her death. She was a fantastic woman. She didn't easily fit into the usual convent schedule but the convent discovered why when the throngs came to celebrate her life and accompany her on her final journey home. (More later or another time. I have to go and make some salad now.) Cas