Sr. Megan's Reflections on Ghana Visit

Our Canonical Novice Servant, Sr. Megan Mary Thibodeau, just visited Ghana with one of her novices who is from the area (Sr. Rejoice). The following is a short reflection Sr. Megan gave about her trip. I think you will find it beautiful and inspiring.

I know so many of you were praying for me during my trip to Ghana and I wanted to share with you a few of the highlights....
So, Ghana was glorious. It was non-stop activity for 2 weeks but that is not a complaint. They showed me more than I ever could have imagined and I feel like I got a little glimpse at what real life is like there. We landed in Accra the capital and then drove about 12 hours north to Damongo. The last 100kms was on the worst road I've ever been on....more like a riverbed than a road. We stayed at a "bungalow" (little compound) that belongs to the diocese with the 3 women who are coming this week to begin formation. They are good, faithful women and lots of fun too! They laughed at me more than once. They had their biggest laugh watching me wash my clothes. In the midst of their laughter they snatched my bucket and clothes and ran away to wash them! I guess I will have to learn the Ghanaian method for hand washing!
They treated me like royalty and gave me more than they had to give, of that I am convinced. Bishop Philip spent a lot of time with us and took me all around.

For the feast of Christ the King we went out to one of the farthest parishes in his diocese of the closing Mass of the youth jamboree. There were about 600 young people from one parish that had spent the week taking part in this jamboree. Mass was outside with the kids sitting on benches under the trees. Before the Mass the Bishop had me speak to them about vocations and Our Lady's Society. The parish priest translated for me. It was quite something....almost a moment out of a movie.

The picture of the little kids is from that Mass. They stayed right with me for the 3 hour Mass and posed over and over again for photos. I wanted to scoop them up and bring them home but I resisted the temptation and watched them walk away with their mothers!

Even though I ran away all the way to Africa, I still could not escape formation. The Bishop asked me to give the 3 young women some teachings to get them ready to come into formation. Try as I might to get away from formation, I run right into it. After the teachings Sr Rejoice took me all around town to meet her family, friends and to see everything there was to see. We went to the primary school which over 1,000 students attend. The classes range in size from 40-60 students. The younger grades have no desks, books or pencils. We came in after lunch during their nap time and there were 60 little kindergarten kids curled up on the cement floor. Unfortunately for the teacher nap time was over when I walked in! The little kids are awe struck by white skin. It didn't matter where I went the little kids wanted to touch me, have their picture taken or wave at me. It was so very cute.
We went to the hospital and I made a private vow that I would never get sick in Ghana and if I did I would never go to the hospital....I would rather die at home than go there. It was quite scary but made me realize why so many people had limps, lumps and other strange ailments.

One of the highlights of my time in Damongo was probably going to see Sr Rejoice's family the first time. We drove over in the Bishop's SUV and Sr. Rejoice's dad, James, saw us coming and ran (literally) out to meet us. Here was this tall, super-thin, dignified man running full speed to arrive at the car as his daugther opened the door. She jumped out and he threw his arms around her, practically lifting her off her feet and hugged and kissed her over and over again. There wasn't a dry eye in the place. What a blessing to see a father loving his daughter.

Another highlight would be going to St. Ann's Girls Secondary School....that's where the "Where's Waldo?" photo was taken. This is the girls' boarding school that Bishop Philip started and where he originally wanted Our Lady's Sisters to serve. There are over 100 girls attending the school now. As we walked in to speak to them, they stood up and sang a song of welcome that just about raised the roof. Between their voices and the drums we processed to the front of the room. We spoke to them about vocations and the call to holiness. I have never seen 100 high school girls as well behaved as these girls were....respectful, quiet and attentive....amazing! After we answered some questions they once again stood up and now sang a song of thanks as we marched out.

The last highlight would be going to Mass at a parish in Accra on the first Sunday of Advent. Accra is a pretty big city with lots of parishes and people. There had to be 600-700 people at the Mass we attended. Sr. Rejoice and I were asked to help distribute Holy Communion and what an honor it was. If that Mass was the only reason why He brought me all the way to Ghana that would have been enough. As I gave Holy Communion to probably 250 people all I could do was thank Him for letting me do what I have always wanted to do. I gave the people of Africa Jesus. But more importantly the people of Africa gave me Jesus.
Thanks for your prayers. Be assured that you are in mine.
In Mary, the cause of our joy,
Sr. Megan"


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