South African Author’s Insight into Religious Life through Grandaunt’s Missionary Journey

Credit: Courtesy Photo

The recently published book, “The Adventurous Nun – Stories my Family Told Me”, is about Catholic Religious Life through the experiences of a South African Catholic Nun who died of COVID-19 in 2020, the author of the 35-chapter book has said in an interview with ACI Africa.

In the Tuesday, September 20 interview, Marcia Mandisi Mabaso highlighted the life journey of her late Grandaunt, Sr. Mildred Lungile Madlala of the Congregation of Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM).

“The book is about the life story of my Grandaunt who was a Religious Sister; she was my mother's aunt. What is interesting about the book is the fact that she openly shared her journey as a Religious Sister, a Catholic Nun”, Ms. Mabaso said.

The South African author described her book as ideal for “young people” who aspire to be religious.

The Christian author further said that the book offers detailed information about “Religious life” in the context of the Roman Catholic Church. 


Ms. Mabaso said, “What is interesting about the book is that I'm not Roman Catholic; I am a Christian and I tell the book from my side. I tell the book, as someone who's not Roman Catholic who wants to find out what is and how the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary feature into the Roman Catholic Church.”

“So, in the book you'll find me answering the questions, how does one become a Nun? Step by step I laid out the structures of the Roman Catholic Church”, said Ms. Mabaso in reference to her 238-page book that was published by Amazon.

Other chapters of the book include poems that Sr. Madlala wrote throughout her journey as a Catholic missionary Nun in various parts of the world, including “South Africa, Congo, Kenya, Mauritius, France, Upper Volta (Burkina Faso), Italy, Switzerland, England and Madagascar where she’s buried.”

“My Grandaunt always told me that as Catholic Nuns, they were encouraged to write about their life journey to inspire others, to share with others about the joy of their vocation; so, she wrote poems describing her life story”, said Ms. Mabaso.

She continued, “One of the poems is about death, losing a sister and how she coped with death of a loved one; she also wrote about Mary of the Passion, Saint Francis, and about the FMM Institute itself. In the poem,s she's praising the love of God and how it has impacted on her life.”

More in Africa

Sr. Madlala who died of COVID-19 in Madagascar in July 2020 spoke a lot about “integration” into host communities by learning the “local language” of the people she would be sent to.

“Anytime she was in a country she would find it important to be able to learn the language so that she can engage with the people,” Ms. Mabaso said about her late Grandaunt. 

“She spoke French and Swahili fluently. For me that was life changing and a lesson, that if you want to engage with the people and want to engage from the heart, you need to learn their language”, said Ms. Mabaso in the September 20 interview about late Sr. Madlala’s life journey as a Catholic missionary Nun.

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.