The sound of the footsteps of visitors is like medicine; it cures the sick.  (African Proverb)



Fr Russell Pollitt SJ lighting the Paschal Candle at the Easter Vigil

O truly blessed night,
worthy alone to know the time and hour
when Christ rose from the underworld!
This is the night
of which it is written:
The night shall be as bright as day,
dazzling is the night for me, and full of gladness.
O truly blessed night,
worthy alone to know the time and hour
when Christ rose from the underworld!
This is the night
of which it is written:
The night shall be as bright as day,
dazzling is the night for me, and full of gladness.
                  from the Easter Exultet



Sr Aurelia returned to Kenya on 2nd February
after two years with us in Benoni. 
We are grateful for her presence
with us during this time. 

The Council of the English-speaking Carmelite Association of Our Lady of Africa met at Benoni Carmel between 20th January and 2nd February.  They also visited the Carmels of Cape Town and Mahikeng.
Left – right:
Sr Bernadette of Owerri, Nigeria
Sr Chiara of Kisii, Kenya
Sr Therese of Benoni
Fr Philbert Nampande, Religious Assistant from Malawi
Sr Miriam of Tamale, Ghana
Sr Bendina of Nairobi, Kenya

The nativity scene in our Chapel during the Christmas season 2018


Bishop Duncan Tsoke celebrated Mass with the Community on the Solemnity of St John of the Cross, 14th December.
After Mass he joined the Sisters for a festive breakfast. 

 Fr Joseph Gabriel OSB spent a few days with
us in November, before returning to his monastery of Christ in the Desert, New Mexico,


Visit of Muslim women to Carmel
On 27 October 2018 a friendly encounter took place at Carmel between sixteen Turkish ladies and our community.  Fr Christophe Boyer of the Missionaries of Africa had organised the visit with members of the Turquoise Harmony Institute.

Fr Christophe explained the history of this kind of celebration.  He said that at the beginning of the Algerian war of independence in 1954 Louis Massignon launched at Chapelle-Dolmen, Vieux-Marché near St Brieuc in Britany, France, an Islamo-Christian celebration of the Seven Saints of Ephesus to foster reconciliation between Muslims and Christians. In 2010 there was the launching of a National holiday in Lebanon on Annunciation Day 25 march for Muslims and Christians to celebrate together Mary Mother of Jesus as a first step towards healing and reconciliation. This kind of Islamo-Christian celebration has spread to other countries. The Turks have a long experience of Islamo-Christian pilgrimage in Ephesus where according to the tradition Mary has resided with John the Evangelist. Turquoise Harmony Institute has already a long history of initiatives for enhancing dialogue between cultures in South Africa.
Fr Christophe explained to the women some of the history of Carmel, and especially about the Prophet Elijah.  He was joined by Ahmed a representative of the Call of Islam and Mr Nadas Pillay a Hindu friend.  Our Islamo-Christian sharing centred around Mary/Mariam, we sisters sang the Magnificat and other Marian hymns, and one of the women gave an outline of Mary in the Quran.  As the Turkish Ladies told Father and his friends that they are not allowed to pray in presence of men, they went out during the chanting of Surat 19, while the Sisters listened.

After this we had a very enjoyable ‘bring and share lunch’.  It was an opportunity to share the daily horarium of the Sisters monastic life. They found similarities with their Muslim prayer times.
After the meal they visited our Altar bread department and were interested to see the work we in which we are engaged.  There was a joyful atmosphere, and the experience was truly enriching for all of us. 

Visits from schools and parishes in preparation for First Holy Communion
The past months have been busy welcoming children to visit our altar bread department.  This year was the first visit from De La Salle/Holy Cross school in Victory Park.

Visit from the children of our Parish – St Patrick’s, Benoni

Secular Carmelites had a retreat day with Sr Thérèse at Carmel on 6th October, 2018 which included a Group Lectio Divina.

Sr Thérèse attended the General Assembly of the Association of Carmels of the Indian Ocean Islands held at Moramanga, Madagascar from 12th – 25th September, with representatives from the Carmels of Antananarivo, Fianarantsao, Toliara, Mahajanga,Morondavo, Moramanga, Reunion Island and Mauritius, they were joined by Sr Atenaïz from Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast – president of Francophone African Carmels with Sr Francoise from Kigali, Rwanda.
They are pictured with Bishop Fabien of Morondavo, Sr Agnes OCSO and other Carmelite Fathers.

Visit to Moramanga Carmel


Carmel and community of Antananarivo

With Sr Atenaïz and Sr Francoise

Sr Maddalena (prioress)

Sr Chawezi had the joy of welcoming her brother James and sister-in-law Petronella on a visit from Zambia.

James is an artist and art teacher, and drew this  delicate still life for us.

The second baking machine arrived on 31st August, and Francesco Papini and his technician Jonathan arrived a few days later from Italy to install the machine.




Visit of Fr Charles Serrao and our Carmelite Fathers.

On 30th June Fr Charles Serrao OCD, provincial of Karnataka-Goa Province, India visited our community with the five Carmelite Fathers working in South Africa – Frs Arvin, Boniface and John in Benoni and Frs Mari Joe and Anthony in Cape Town.  Together we shared a fraternal meal, having earlier celebrated a Mass in thanksgiving for the life of Sr Anne Cunningham.

Sr Grace and Sr Regina from Mafikeng Carmel, on their return from the Association meeting in Nairobi.

In June Sr Marie enjoyed a visit from her niece Corrine who lives in Kinshasa, DRC

On 13th June, 2018 we said good-bye to our friend Fr Michel Meunier, a Missionary of Africa who after 35 years missionary work in Africa is returning to his home country – Canada.  We wish him well on his new assignment.

Fr Guillaume Kambounon, an Oblate of St Francis de Sales priest from Benin, recently spent some days of retreat at Carmel prior to running in the Comrades marathon.

Two sisters, Obi and Didi spent some time together during May at Carmel, reflecting on the Scriptures, praying with the community and sharing with Sr Chawezi in preparation for Didi’s next academic semester.

On 5th May, Sr Therese attended the Solemn Profession of Sr Mary Carmel of the Mercy of God in Zomba Carmel, Malawi.  The profession was presided over by Bishop George Tambala OCD. Many priests, religious and friends of the monastery were present at this very joyful occasion.

Visitors to Carmel during March

On 3rd March a group of Confirmation candidates from Katlehong Parish visited us during their retreat day at Lumko.

The Catechumens and Candidates from St Peter Claver Parish, Pimville, together with their Catechists, had a day of retreat at Carmel on 24th March.


Visitors to Carmel : The Oakford Dominican Leadership team

Srs Catherine and Bernadette with Fr Mark Butlin OSB from Ampleforth Abbey, England.


Sr Catherine and the community on 7th February when she began her novitiate.

A joyful day for all of us.

A memorial Mass was held for Sr Anne of Christ (Cunningham) on 3rd February, 2018

Fr Michael Murphy was the chief celebrant at a special Mass for Sr Anne, and concelebrated with Fr David Rowan SJ, Fr Russell Pollitt SJ and Fr Arvin OCD. Several friends attended and joined us afterwards for refreshments, so beautifully prepared by the Catholic Womens’ League. At the end of Mass, Sr Bernadette shared her reminiscences of Sr Anne.
Here are some excerpts from Fr Michael’s homily:
In this day and age sitting here in Carmel as Sr Anne did for so many years, raises big questions.  Why Carmel at all?  Why give up so much to spend a lifetime in prayer.  In a glitzy world that promises so much, why should one choose to live within convent walls?  The answer lies in Jesus Christ.  That same magnetism that worked so well on his early disciples, has still been operative down through the centuries, and is still drawing people today.  Sr. Anne got the bug.  The invitation that came to Peter, Andrew, James and John, on the lakeshore came also to Sr. Anne and Christ became her all.  There is no other explanation. And while we mourn her loss today we celebrate the fact that she was a true and faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.   As a religious, Sr. Anne was not escaping from the world but rather, in the words of Thomas Merton, entering deeper into it.  She was creating an ‘alternate world’.  Religious choose to live in the ‘Kingdom of God’ or the ‘Reign of God’ which was the central message of Jesus as he walked the roads of Galilee. Religious life is a celibate God-quest, a seeking of God in all things.  A life of contemplative prayer, and a community shaped by vows are central to this alternate world.  Thus poverty is an alternate economic system to the economies of this world that are largely ruled by greed and corruption — and what a sad mess such economies have created!  Obedience is obedience to God’s Word, and as such, provides an alternative political system of equality and mutual empowerment in community — for God is inclusive of all people.  Sr. Anne was fired by all of this.  Sr. Anne spent many hours in silence in this beautiful chapel which she designed.  I would like to invite you all to a minute’s silence so as to connect with her. …

Association of Our Lady of Africa English-speaking Carmels.

Sr Therese (Benoni) , Sr Grace (Mityana) and Sr Chiara (Kisii, Kenya)   

Sr Bernadette (Owerri, Nigeria), Sr Bendina (Nairobi, Kenya), Sr Miriam (Tamale, Ghana)

Sr Thérèse attended the Council meeting of the Association in Mityana Carmel from 17th – 23rd January, 2018.   We used our time together to plan the programme for the next triennium.

The Cathedral, Mityana

Mityana is associated with three of the Uganda
Martyrs, Noa Mawaggali, Luka Baanabakintu and Matia Kalemba Mulumba. The Carmel is situated next to the Cathedral of Mityana which remembers these martyrs.
We enjoyed spending time with the community of Mityana Carmel who hosted us with great love and warm hospitality.

Our Relgious Assistant, Fr Philbert Nampande from Malawi, was also with us for the meeting.  Community photo with Fr Philbert, Sr Bendina (President) and the Councillors.