INKAMANA NEWSLETTER 3–4 /2014 1 December 2014 Dear confreres, benefactors and friends This newsletter covers the last six months, i.e. the period from June to November 2014. There was a fair amount of coming and going during that time. Several confreres had to embark on major journeys. On June 23 Fr Leo EIREINER flew to Europe to spend a holiday at Schweiklberg Abbey, the monastery of his profession. An unforeseen stay in hospital forced him to prolong his sojourn in his home country. He returned to Inkamana on September 15. Br George OSTHEIMER also had to battle with health problems. Agonizing pain eventually caused him to fly to Germany to see his doctor who had treated him before. On June 27 he left for Germany where he was immediately admitted to hospital. After undergoing several operations he is now on the way to recovery but is only expected to come back to us next year in February. Br Ansfried MACHATSCH also spent some time in hospital. He needed a knee-cap replacement which the doctors performed on him in August in Durban. Afterwards he was invited by Fr Gérard LAGLEDER to recuperate at Blessed Gérard Care Centre in Mandeni. . Soon after Easter, Fr Gérard LAGLEDER boarded a plane that took him to Europe for his annual fund–raising campaign in support of the Blessed Gérard Care Centre in Mandeni which includes a 45-bed hospice, a children’s home and several other social projects. He was back at Mandeni at the end of July. On July 29, Fr Oswald GOMANI flew to Nairobi to enroll at the Catholic University where he is now doing a course in administration and management. Abbot Godfrey and Br Kevin THUMBALABWAZI were on a flight to Germany on August 11 to participate in the Congregation Study Weeks that were held at the Archabbey St Ottilien from August 14 to September 11. Br Kevin returned to Inkamana together with Fr Leo on September 15. Abbot Godfrey remained in Germany a few weeks more as he was due to attend the meeting of major superiors of the Missionary Benedictines of St Ottilien which was scheduled to begin at the end of September at the Conventual Priory of El Rosal in Colombia. On the way to Colombia he and most of the other major superiors made a stop–over in Cuba to visit the latest foundation of the Missionary Benedictines in Havana, the capital of Cuba. It was in 2008 that our Congregation opened a house in Cuba, answering a request by the Cardinal of Havana. Our Congregation, which has about 1000 members and is the second largest in the Benedictine Order, has now 20 independent monasteries (abbeys and conventual priories) and a number of dependent houses (like the one in Cuba) in 4 European countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Spain), 5 Asian countries (China, India, Kazakhstan, Philippines and South Korea), 4 American countries (Columbia, Cuba, Venezuela and USA) and 7 African countries (Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia). On July 5, our two second-year novices, Francis KUUTONDEKA (from Namibia) and Emmanuel SUNTHENI (from Malawi) made their first profession which binds them for a period of two years to our community. This gives them time to find out whether they are really called to the Benedictine way of life and to train for the various tasks they will take over in our abbey one day. Our experience in the last fifty years has shown that candidates need a good number of years before they are ready to commit themselves for life to our monastic community. Most of them have no clear idea about monastic life when they come to us. They are given ample time, nine years altogether, before they can pronounce their perpetual vows and become full members of our abbey. During the course of this year, two of our first-year candidates, Stefanus NOMWEDHA from Namibia and Mthulisi NSINGO from Zimbabwe, came to the conclusion that they were not really called to monastic life. It is the task of the novice master and his assistants to help candidates in the process of discernment. Inkamana has at present 29 finally professed monks, 7 temporary professed monks, 3 novices and one postulant. On July 11, we welcomed Fr Dominic ONASSERIL who arrived from India. Fr Dominic, who is a full member of our community, was ordained to the priesthood in his home country, India, after finishing his theological studies at the St Joseph’s Theological Institute in Cedara, South Africa. Fr Dominic is involved in pastoral work and assists Br Alphonse AMUTERNYA at the boys’ hostel. Abbot Godfrey and Br Bernard PACHNER left by car for Namibia on July 13 to visit our two confreres, Fr Maximilian JACOBS and Br Gabriel THOMPSON, in Waldfrieden. They also met with the Archbishop of Windhoek to discuss the possibility of transferring our foundation from Waldfrieden to a more suitable place further north, closer to Ovamboland, one of the more densely populated regions of Namibia. Invited by the German–speaking Catholic community in the Durban region, Abbot Godfrey travelled to Mariannhill on November 9 and confirmed 5 boys and girls during a festive mass in the Convent Chapel of Mariannhill. Each year, after Inkamana High school closes in November and the students go home for the long summer holidays, the monks gather at the abbey for the annual retreat. Our retreat master, Abbot Anselm of Fiecht (Austria) arrived on November 19 in South Africa. Before he started the retreat on Sunday, November 23, he paid a short visit to the St Alban Benedictine Sisters at Elukwathini whom he knows very well from the time when he was the prior of Jakobsberg in Germany. His talks during the retreat focused on the values a Benedictine community should be based on. He gave us much to ponder about before we all renewed our monastic vows and received the papal blessing at the end of holy mass on the last day. Grateful for the spiritual service he rendered to us, we said good–bye to Abbot Anselm on November 24. On December 2, we received the news that Br Adalbert PLÖTZ, who had spent 55 years as a missionary in Zululand, had passed away at Schweiklberg Abbey in Germany. Born in 1920 in a small village in the Bavarian Forest in Germany, he entered Schweiklberg Abbey where he pronounced his monastic vows in October 1946. In January 1951 his abbot assigned him to the Zululand Mission. Many of the Benedictine pioneers who began missionary work in Zululand in the early 1920s were then still alive when Br Adalbert arrived in South Africa. They assisted him as he faced the challenge of learning two new languages, English AND Zulu, and getting used to working in an unfamiliar environment. With his training as plumber and blacksmith and his knowledge in farming Br Adalbert soon became a sought-after jack-of-all-trades. He spent his first years in Zululand helping out at various mission stations. In December 1954 he was sent to Fatima Mission, situated in the sugar–cane belt near the coast of the Indian Ocean. He remained there for nearly ten years. In 1965 he was sent to Mahlabatini to take charge of the mission farm. It was there that the Zulus gave him the nickname “masheshisa” because he always urged his workers to get jobs done fast. In January 1975 he returned to Inkamana to become the handyman of the monastery. He remained there until 2006 when, at the age of 86, his deteriorating health made him decide to return to Schweiklberg Abbey. Br Adalbert was a very private person, who liked the simple things in life. Firmly grounded in the Benedictine way of life, he was especially liked by our young confreres who appreciated his wisdom and self-deprecating sense of humour. We welcomed a great number of guests in the last few months. Some of them came to the abbey on a flying visit. Busloads of pilgrims who were on their way to the Marian Shrine at Ngome stopped at Inkamana, joined us for holy mass and visited the grave of Sr Reinolda (1901–1981) before continuing their journey. Two priests who made a kind of sabbatical at Inkamana shared our life of prayer and work for longer period. Fr Matthias MLANGENI, a diocesan priest from the Dundee Diocese, arrived at Inkamana at the end of April and remained here until the end of November. Fr Boniface KASALI, a Congo–born donum fidei priest who works in the Diocese of Aliwal North, spent three months with us before his bishop recalled him. On August 11, we were honoured with a visit by the Prioresses and Counselors of the Association of St Mechtildis. They came all the way from Tanzania (Songea, Chipole, Imiliwaha) to see Inkamana Abbey. Bishop Thaddeus Kumalo of Eshowe was at Inkamana on September 6 to administer the sacrament of confirmation to nine High School students. Two great benefactors from Munich, Barbara Wittek and her son Robert, were at Inkamana in September. Monsignor Hans Striedl, provost of Passau Cathedral, visited us in October together with a long-time friend and supporter of Inkamana, Franz Klarl of Vilshofen. On October 22 we fetched Peter and Anne HEHL at Durban Airport. They had come from Germany on an EMIRATES flight together with Abbot Godfrey. During their five-week stay Peter worked as teacher and computer expert at Inkamana High School and at Nardini Convent in Vryheid, while Anne helped at Nardini Primary School, run by Franciscan Sisters of Mallersdorf. In mid–November we played host to a 40-member group from Amberg, Bavaria. They were particularly interested in the social projects of the Nardini Sisters. We wish all our friends and benefactors a joyful Christmas and God’s richest blessings for the New Year. We thank you for the interest you have shown in the life and progress of our community and for your support and your prayers. You can rest assured that we include our friends and their intentions when we celebrate Holy Mass each day. May God bless and protect you all, Abbot Godfrey Sieber and the monks of Inkamana

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