At Sisters’ Jubilee in Angola, Archbishop Urges Renewal of Covenant with the Risen Lord

Archbishop José de Queirós Alves. Credit: Radio Ecclesia

On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the presence in Angola of the Sisters of the Society of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus (STJ), also called Teresian Sisters, a Catholic Archbishop in the Southern African nation is inviting the Sisters to renew their covenant with the Risen Lord.

In his December 2 homily, Archbishop José de Queirós Alves also encouraged Teresian Sisters to follow in the footsteps of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, their Patron Saint, in their apostolate.

“This Jubilee is an event of faith for the community, the moment of extraordinary pastoral care, the moment of a more intense demand and in which the Lord Jesus, our Guide and Solicitor, breaks our repetitive routine and challenges us by saying: Attention, God is God. I am your God and you are my people,” Archbishop Alves said during the Eucharistic celebration at the Shrine of Christ the Merciful in Canhe.

The Archbishop emeritus of Angola’s Huambo Archdiocese emphasized the need for the Sisters to re-examine their relationship with Jesus Christ, saying, “This invitation is also yours, dear Teresian Sisters, to renew your covenant with Him. This covenant has already taken on a new dimension, because the Risen Lord fills us with every spirit of grace and goodness.”

The Angolan member of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists - CSsR) spoke of the individual and collective responsibility of STJ members as they begin their yearlong Diamond Jubilee celebrations of their presence in Angola. 


“The central attitude of this jubilee is the encounter with the Lord. It's not just a simple action of being with him and a time of contemplation, it's a time when you have to feel in love with Him and become attached to Him and not simply spend a year with lots of shiny, high-sounding achievements, but it must always be in the spirit of being marked with the stamp of Teresa of Avila, the one who deeply marked the heart of Christ and today invites you to follow in her path,” he said.

Also speaking during the December 2 event, the Local Ordinary of Huambo paid glowing tribute to the pioneers of the Teresian Mission in Angola.

Archbishop Zeferino Zeca Martins said, “We pay homage to the missionary impulse of the sisters who, in the driving furrow of Saint Teresa, led by Henry of Ossó, continue to bring evangelisation to all creatures.” 

“May God repay you and fill you with many, many vocations, Religious women who know how to read and interpret the new signs of the times so that you can continue today here in Huambo, in Angola and throughout the world to make the life of St Teresa of the Child Jesus your own, which after all is the life of Christ your own and the Mission of Christ your own,” Archbishop Zeca implored.

On her part, the Provincial Superior of the Teresian Sisters in Angola and Mozambique, Sr. Domingas Valemenlã, looked back at the beginning of their service in Angola, saying, "Since the first sisters arrived in our country in 1949, specifically at the Vavayela Mission, we've had almost 105 sisters spread out from Cabinda to Cunene.”

More in Africa

The 75 years, Sr. Valemenlã added, “have not been easy because life itself presents us with many difficulties.”

“Firstly, when our sisters arrived, they really didn't have the necessary conditions to be able to carry out the mission, especially in the field of education. It wasn't easy because in the early days our sisters didn't have schools, but they actually started teaching under the trees,” she recalled.

Sr. Valemenlã further said, “It was a great challenge, but they weren't discouraged by it and today, I say thanks to God, through our benefactors we have built some structures, although with many difficulties.”

João Vissesse is an Angolan Journalist with a passion and rich experience in Catholic Church Communication and Media Apostolate.