.- Eucharistic Adoration in Uganda is attracting more lay people to prayer and encouraging vocations, an international Catholic charity reports.
Sister Consolate Shirima of the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, based at Holy Trinity Monastery in Arua, on the northwest border of the country, discussed the phenomenon with Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).
She said that over the past five years, increasing numbers of lay people have joined the sisters for adoration. An estimated three or four hundred faithful join the monastery for prayer on Sundays, while daily visitors to the monastery’s chapel are so numerous the order has appointed a sister to look after them.
“They come for adoration on their own at any time they want to. There are some hours where you find two or sometimes three people – or even groups of 10,” she told ACN.
Holy Trinity Monastery is now too small to house the increasing number of sisters.
“Because of the lack of rooms we have to turn people away, so we are looking to extend the monastery,” Sr. Shirima told ACN.
An ACN grant of about $7,000 will help the monastery expand its space to house twelve more professed nuns and another novice.
Holy Trinity Monastery is of exceptional size in Africa, where contemplative orders are generally quite small. Most postulants join active apostolates instead.
Sr. Shirma explained that prayer is a consolation for the difficulties of life in the poverty-stricken area.
“When you have problems you are easily drawn to God – through adoration, some of them get consolations, even though these may be small,” she said.
“Poverty comes because people have died from AIDS leaving children living with their grandparents.
“Usually in Africa we have large families with up to 10 children, now because of deaths from AIDS you find one person bringing up over 20 children.”
She added that a lack of employment helps drive people to drink and drugs.
Another nun, Sr. Marie Claire of the Benedictine Nuns of the Blessed Sacrament, said that adoration gives people peace and prompts them to make peace in disputes with friends, relatives or enemies.
“They feel the Eucharist makes them reunited with others and the whole Church – that is what they say they feel when they come before the Blessed Sacrament,” she told ACN. “Some come afterwards and say, ‘Yes, I am now alright with my brother/husband/wife who has not been talking to me for two or three days’ – they continue with real life in peace.”