Sister Heading to Africa
Sr. Evangela Bossert’s childhood dream will come true as she and Sister Dorothy Jean Byers from Queen of Angels Monastery in Mt. Angel, OR, travel to Johannesburg, South Africa July 12 –August 24, 2008. They will live, pray, study, make presentations, reflect, and discuss the Benedictine Way with a group of 65 Benedictine sisters there. This opportunity is part of the Alliance of International Monasticism’s effort to deepen the connections among monastic communities of Cistercians and Benedictines world-wide.
Sister Bossert grew up in Kansas City, MO in the 1930’s and 40’s when it was clearly a segregated city. Even as a child questions about that cultural practice walked the backroads of her mind. “My parents seldom talked about the issue but their actions taught me an alternative. When people, whether white or black, came to our home in need of help, they were invited to the family table,” Bossert explained.
When she joined St. Gertrude’s at the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement she knew she desired to get past her cultural instinct to fear dark skinned people. Reading books and watching programs on cultures of black peoples around the world deepened her appreciation for them and her respect blossomed anew when she was privileged to direct Sisters from different African countries who participated in a 90-day sabbatical program at St.Gertrude’s in the 1980’s and 90’s. She admired their beautiful English and their daring involvement in programs to help African women become educated and earn a living.
“I see this opportunity to be with these 65 African Sisters as a call to discipleship,” Sr. Bossert said. “My whole life has been so safe. This is a departure from the familiar. It makes me focus on the oneness of faith within the church. It invites me to act in solidarity with these women, to relate with them primarily by acting as Christ would act with them.”
Sister Evangela Bossert, OSB is a member of the Monastery of St. Gertrude, a Benedictine community in Cottonwood, Idaho.