On March 9th, 2015 while the Religious of the Assumption were preparing to celebrate the birth in heaven of Saint Marie-Eugenie their fonder, death knocked down Sister Helen, R.A., missionary in Tanzania. On March 10, 2015 evening, the Assumptionists from Emmanuel House joined the Religious of the Assumption in their community in Kawangware for Mass. The mass was blended with mixed feelings since it was the heavenly birthday of St. Marie-Eugénie. It was presided over by Father Paluku Meso Jean-Marie a.a., who reminded, first of all, that we always celebrate a mass as an occasion of joy as we exercise our common ministry and priesthood. Secondly, he said, “we are especially celebrating the memorial of Saint Marie-Eugenie’s birthday in heaven” (March 10, 1898). “We are sad as we are mourning our beloved sister Helen who has passed away.” As people who have lived with her, during this mass, we thank the Lord for her life which has been a grace for us. We are all on pilgrimage here on earth. This world is not our permanent home. It is a temporary place for us to live. Believer or non-believer, we are all passing away. Death is our common way of ending our life in this world, and of entering our eternal home.
Today the death of our Sister Helen helps us once again to put things into perspective. Death does not have an age. It can occur any time in our life. The length of life does not make its value. It does not matter whether a person has lived a long or a short time. What makes the value of life is its quality. Sometimes short lives are the most valuable and honorable in the eyes of God. All depends on how a person sought to please God in his life. Sister Helen is certainly one of those who sought to please God. She vowed to follow Christ in the Congregation of the Religious of the Assumption where she committed all her life. Faithful disciple of Saint Marie Eugenie, she kindly accepted soon after her first vow to work as missionary in Africa where she has been since 1956. Sister Helen has endured not only the challenges of the mission but also the suffering of her illness. With faith and hope she never turned against her God. Being among the founders of Kenyan mission, she was so much involved in welcoming the Augustinians of the Assumption in the eastern part of Africa. May her soul rest in peace. After mass, we all went to the dining room not only for sharing a fraternal supper but also for hearing a lot about Sister Helen. Many testimonies about her brought us to conclude that sister Helen is really welcome in the kingdom of God.Br. KATEMBO TSONGO Dieudonne, a.a.