Making reference to the Zimbabwe Mozambique Friendship Association, which Sr. Janice helped to establish in 1985, President Mnangagwa says, “she worked closely with the likes of late Herbert Mahlaba to foster and strengthen solidarity between sister peoples of Zimbabwe and Mozambique.”
In the statement, the President expresses his “heartfelt condolences” and those of the members of his party - ZANU PF- and the Government to “the McLaughlin family, and to the family of the Maryknoll Sisters who have lost a loving daughter and devout member respectively.”
“Her leadership in both secular and spiritual realms will be sorely missed. May her dear soul rest in eternal peace,” President Mnangagwa eulogizes Sr. Janice.
In 1991, the late Nun left Zimbabwe for the USA where she served as the Communications Coordinator for the Maryknoll Sisters. Six years later, she returned to Zimbabwe’s Jesuit centre for religious training, Silveira House.
Sr. Janice also chaired the African Forum for Catholic Social Teaching, an association of justice and peace practitioners throughout Africa, and the Counselling Services Unit in Zimbabwe.
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In 2008, Sr. Janice left Zimbabwe again after she was elected President of the Maryknoll Sisters.
She returned to the Southern African nation in October 2015 after her retirement.
From her maiden mission in Africa in Kenya and throughout her service on the continent, Sr. Janice is remembered for fostering good relationships, a quality that made Africans accept her as “one of their own.”
Fr. Joseph Healey, a Maryknoll Priest who worked together with Sr. Janice “for over 50 years throughout Eastern Africa” has, in his March 8 Facebook post, recalled their shared “passion to train Africans in the different Media of Social Communications and to hand over our ministries to the Local Church.”
“Janice and I were good friends and enjoyed many good times together. From our African friends we learned the importance of friendships, relationships and community,” Fr. Healey has recounted.
He adds, “Of Janice’s many gifts and talents I want to recall one. She was truly both loved and admired by Africans. They considered her one of their own.”
“There is a saying: ‘To evangelize in depth you have to be accepted as brother or sister.’ Janice was truly accepted as a sister and as a friend,” the Nairobi-based Maryknoll Cleric says in his Facebook post.
He explains in reference to the late Maryknoll Nun, “She was at home in African culture and customs. More so she befriended people and was a friend to the mighty and to the simple. Our little Communications Team met regularly over 50 years.”
“A visit by Janice to Nairobi in recent years was a highlight for all her friends. A nice meal. Good stories. Laughter. We harvested the memories,” Fr. Healey, a specialist in Small Christian Communities (SCCs) as a new way of being church recalls.
The Maryknoll Missionary who, last year, participated in growing online SCCs amid COVID-19 restrictions has described late Sr. Janice as “a missioner to the very end” whose “last project in Zimbabwe was to stop human trafficking.”
“We lovingly put Janice in the hands of our eldest brother Jesus Christ remembering the Shona people of Zimbabwe’s name for Jesus that Janice loved so much – the ‘One Who Turns Things Upside Down,’” Fr. Healey who will turn 83 at the end next month says.
The American-born Maryknoll Cleric who is currently in the U.S. celebrated the Holy Eucharist for the repose of the soul of Sr. Janice March 7.
The Memorial Liturgy for late Nun, which will be livestreamed, has been scheduled to take place at the Maryknoll Sisters Center at Maryknoll in New York on Friday, March 12.
Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.