SASKATOON — The Daughters of Providence (Filles de la Providence) have been present in Uganda since 2006 in the person of Sister Emma Mudrik of Saskatchewan, who was a missionary volunteer with the Brothers of Christian Instruction at the Catholic University at Kisubi, in central Uganda. The Brothers have the same founder as the Daughters of Providence, Rev. John Mary de la Mennais; both congregations were founded for the education of children and youth, especially the disadvantaged.
Inspired by the spirit of de la Mennais and by the Providence spirituality and intending to become religious, two young Ugandan women answered the call of Bishop Sanctus Lino Wanok of the far northern Diocese of Nebbi, Uganda, to join him in the work of evangelization and in the founding of a new congregation for the service of the church in the West Nile region.
The two women and Sister Emma moved from the more prosperous region of the centre to the poorer area of the north in January 2014. The Diocese of Nebbi was erected in Feb. 1996 with a total population of 623,430; of these, 510,080 are Catholics. The people of the north have carried the scars of civil war and rebel leader Joseph Kony’s atrocities. Poverty prevails in an infertile region where the climate is extreme and the rural people are neglected.
True to the spirit of the founder and the first Daughters of Providence in St Brieuc, France, the small community started by living among the people, visiting them, gathering and teaching the unschooled and school dropouts, ages 15-25, thus answering a major need in the area. The sowing of the seeds of love and concern is slowly growing into a vocational/trade school, a project only possible with the contributions of the local people, the assistance of project funding and abandonment to Divine Providence.
The Spirit of God blows where it wills. On Dec. 27, 2014, feast of the Evangelist, St. John, Betty Namyalo and Maria Amony made their first formal commitment in a simple celebration at morning mass in the Cathedral parish, making the three religious vows into the hands of the local bishop and in the presence of Sister Dolores Bussière, representing the founding congregation, the Daughters of Providence of St Brieuc.
Amidst rejoicing by the Christians present, a new religious family came to birth: the Daughters of Providence of Nebbi. Bishop Sanctus Lino Wanok has ventured into the deep with a spirit of faith and love of the church not unlike that of de la Mennais, who in 1818 called forth the zealous and caring founding Daughters of Providence and true to the call of Pope Francis to go to the peripheries, the bishop leads the way, guiding the new community and its mission in Northern Uganda.