Synodal Process in Formation “will boost vocations to Religious Life”: Nun in Botswana

Sr. Cynthia Nwadike. Credit: ACI Africa

An application of the “synodal process” in formation of candidates to Religious Life can go a long way in fostering vocations to Consecrated Life, a missionary Nun in Botswana has said.

In an interview with ACI Africa, Sr. Cynthia Nwadike said the call “to walk together, to listen, to share experiences” in the ongoing preparations for the Synod on Synodality offers opportunities for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

"This Synodal process is fundamental to Religious formation," Sr. Nwadike said, and added, “If we use the Synodal process approach, we will boost vocations to Religious Life, and more people will join us."

The Nigerian-born member of the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of the Apostles (OLA) highlighted the key elements of the synodal process relevant for Religious Life including the formation of candidates to Consecrated Life.

She said, “This generation should be grateful for what’s happening now in the Catholic Church; the synodal process is a reminder that we need to walk together, to listen, to share experiences."


“We grew up in a Church that was a bit silent on certain issues, sensitive issues; but now the same Church has realized by reading the signs of the times, that there has to be a change,” the Nigerian Catholic Nun who has been a missionary in Botswana since 2018 said during the May 18 interview.

The synodal process, she added, “is reminding us that if you do the same thing the same way you get the same results.”

Sr. Nwadike who spoke to ACI Africa on the sidelines of a workshop organized by the Inter-Regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA) on safeguarding of minors and vulnerable adults underscored the need for candidates to Religious Life to have “fallen in love” with God, the Father.

“I always tell young people, if you have never fallen in love, or experienced love and focused on God before you become a Nun, Religious Life might be difficult for you,” the OLA member said.

As a candidate to Religious Life, she added, “you have to acknowledge the love you feel for the Father and for yourself; in that way, when you become a Sister, you have this love for humanity.”

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“Those who wish to enter Religious Life should remember that we are human; we're not angels that came from above and landed on earth, we have flaws,” she further said, adding, “When I am comfortable with my humanity, my divinity comes to the fore.”

The fact that those who embrace Consecrated Life remain human with flows “is part of what I would encourage Congregations when they are talking about vocations. Let the young girl know that she is human,” Sr. Nwadike who has previously served as a Vocations Promoter in her Congregation said.

She encouraged the fostering of dialogue in Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life saying, “We are products of our environment; it is the grace of God that helps us to become what we are supposed to be. And each generation has its challenges; we are living in a society where even a four-year-old will question the mother.”

The Nigerian Catholic Nun added, “We should be open to the why's that we get from these young girls who want to become Religious Sisters and try as much as possible to be as honest as we can.”

“We shouldn’t refuse to acknowledge reality, and we shouldn’t sugarcoat wrongdoing”, Sr. Nwadike told ACI Africa May 18.


Sheila Pires is a veteran radio and television Mozambican journalist based in South Africa. She studied communications at the University of South Africa. She is passionate about writing on the works of the Church through Catholic journalism.