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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

August 12, 2015
I thought I had better do this now than wait again for a whole month. I have been asked by several of our young guys to be their spiritual director. What that means is that, from time to time, they come to explain how they are getting on and some of the ups and downs in their lives and I should somehow accompany them and help them and encourage them and, if necessary, scold them and tell them to get back on track, but work along with them on their life journey. I am honored to be invited to do this accompaniment.
On The 27th of July we celebrated our feast day—St. Anne---Mari ANN hill. We get together and renew our vows again. I guess it is like a wedding anniversary when the couple renew their marriage vows. We have to remember that we came “to serve and not to be served”. Some get it the wrong way around.
    The young guy, Mona, one of Fr. Guy’s sons, who is doing nursing, had a 21st birthday. At Sabelani, Fr. Guy always made birthdays a Sabelani celebration. Many of them never experienced a birthday celebration, cake, soft drinks, gifts and all. Since Mona is here and has no one to help him to celebrate, and 21st birthday is a really big day here, I took him shopping for birthday gifts. Shoes, pants, socks, underwear, warm jacket, etc.  Around R2000. Hey, clothes are expensive, but if you compare to the State, that would be about$180 right now.    Not that bad. But he has no family. We are it. So he was happy. He gets R200 ($18) for food each week. Unfortunately, last week Friday, he was running late and it was dark before he left here for home. He was threatened with a knife (3 guys) who took his money and his cell phone. Damn! I feel like I want to be a vigilante. We really get fed up with these petty crooks, most of them on some kind of drugs, who terrorize ordinar y people every day.
     I had a home mass for a friend whose wife’s mother passed away and we wanted to remember her passing as well as another member of the family. We remembered all those who had touched our lives and have now gone home. Clive lost his foot to gangrene (caused by his diabetes) a few months ago and he used this mass as a chance to thank those many who came to celebrate with him. It was very touching. He had looked death in the eye several times during the time before and after the amputation and everyone came to visit, help the family, give support in many ways and he was thanking them.
    On the first of August, I had the privilege of giving a day’s recollection to a bunch of women, CWL, Catholic Womens’ League. We started at quarter to six in the morning with breakfast and then went on till 10 am. You know now busy housewives are (it was Saturday, shopping, house cleaning, etc.) The topic was relationships and how important they are in our lives—with God, with self, with family, with others, with mother earth. Lots to reflect on and be grateful for . You know what I mean. Several of those women who attended reminded me of how I had touched their lives way back when and they were grateful for how I helped them then. Sometimes I can’t even remember any more.
    On Sunday the 2nd, after the 9am Mass at the hospital, I had another mass with the senior students  (girls) at our St. Francis College ) all young African women. I always enjoy being with youth and I think we both enjoyed the celebration. One of them commented later to the Sister who brought them that my sharing with them about my life impressed her in that she said that my life was just like their lives, ordinary things. Ha! I take that as a compliment.
     I had promised one of the ladies who works here at Mater Dolorosa that I would help her with the tuition for her son at St. Francis College (a Catholic School whose fees are quite high. One has to compete with the government schools). Nothing seemed to be moving since we handed in our application long ago. So I went to shake the tree a bit and found out that what was needed was a R1000 deposit for registration; last June’s results, and a letter of recommendation from the school where he is attending now. Because she works and I loaf all day, I said that I would organize these things. I did. So we are now waiting for the call for the interview. Everything takes time.
    I ‘ve been taking the hospital chaplain’s place since the 3rd of August having Mass at the hospital at 5:45 am. No problem for me. I enjoy celebrating when there are people to celebrate with.
    I was invited, together with my grand niece, Katrina, to attend the 45th annual General Meeting of Lifeline. It started in 1961 when someone was desperate for help and made a phone call and the other person responded. This was in Australia. We now have here in SA a24/7 telephone service for anyone who needs help, like depression, or wanting to commit suicide, etc. The also do training for counseling and lots of other things. The had some fantastic speakers giving in put and I not only enjoyed it but learned a lot from it.
     I manage, finally , to get in touch with a dear friend from the struggle days, Protas Madlala, who is now the CEO of SEDA, an organization that tries to help people to develop them selves with various projects, etc.  I took the rough business plan of Sinovuyo to him and he passed it on and now Sinovuyo is invited to come for training for two days. I just found that out now. He will be overjoyed. I will ask for a place for him here at the Monastery for those days. There is hope for him because he is a very hard worker and strongly self motivated.
     I visited Fr. Cyril Malinga who is in  a coma in the hospital in Durban. He was our canon lawyer when Fr. Guy was going through his hard times in Mthatha. That was last Friday, the 7th of Aug. It is now the 12th (I have seen him 3 times now) and there is no change. It seems to be liver failure. Please pray for and with him.
     Over the last weekend I left early on Saturday to go down to Port Shepstone (my old parish from ’69 71.)
It was from there that I got kicked out. I met several friends who are suffering the joys of old age, hmmm, and one family reminded me that I hadn’t seen Vanessa and her husband  for a long time. When I went to the parish where I had booked a bed for the night, the parking was full with people who were there for a wedding. So I went next door to leave the car there and walk over to the parish. As I got out of the care, holy moses, there was Vanessa and he husband. Shouts of joy and hugs. I concelebrated their wedding 17 yrs. ago in this very church. Holy Moses again. So I was invited to come to their flat for supper after the 5:30 mass which I happily took to give the overworked parish priest a break. After Mass, a guy comes up to me and says that he has a bone to pick with me so I tell him to start picking. Ha. He says that I baptized him 47 yrs. ago on this very day here in this church. Holy Moses once more. Plus others coming up to greet whose lives had intertwined with mine somewhere along the way. Very touching.
    Then on Sunday, more friends after the 8am mass, and then off to the first mass of one of our newly ordained priests. There were maybe a dozen priests there and, of course, the church was full. When I looked at all these young priests, I realized that I was the only Neanderthal man there. I think I was about twice the age, of not more, than the rest of them . More power to them
     After the Mass during the meal a not so young woman came up to greet. Nomusa Nzimande. I was driving down the road between two towns when I saw here walking along the side of the road when she should have been in school (high school). It was about 1970. I stopped and after finding out that she was there because she had no money for school fees, I told her to get in and helped her (with your donations) to pay off her school fees, and then continued later on to fund her nurses training. She is now retired and has used her education to help the other kids in her family. Thanks to you all.
    In between, I also visited another young woman, Phumzile, who is the daughter of Beata Nzama (formerly Kheswa) who, again, with help from the funds that you provided, helped her to get trained as a physiotherapist. She became the head of physiotherapy at King George hospital in Durban and is now also retired. WoW! Investments that are bearing huge dividends now. Again, thanks to you all, even way back then. Her daughter now runs the best, poshest restaurant in Port Shepstone, right on the ocean.
     Yesterday I got my new glasses. My eyes changed a bit after the cataract op. I think that I have 20  /  20 vision now, or pretty close to it.
     Now today, I made a huge decision. I spent just over R2000 to buy anMS word program for my I-Pad (thanks to the gift that came from another friend) and a memory stick that works with both computer and I-Pad. I am worried that next year when I go on my home leave, I won’t be able to do the normal things that I do on a computer . I want to take the I-Pad because it is so small and so light but I have to learn how to use it and print from it and save things on it, etc. etc. Etc. I hope that this does the trick now. For me, communication, like this blog, are my contact with you which I treasure and would never want to lose.

    Well, I have run out of time and must move on so I leave you here with all good wishes and blessings. Love and Peace, Cas.