Kenosis Community Sisterhood – Living to Serve

The sisterhood at Kenosis is part of the original vision for a serving Christian community. The sisters practice Christian communal living with a devoted spiritual life, and are active in the various social programmes of Kenosis. Their devotions and services are open to the community and they are available to lead workshops and retreats for groups.

recent-sisters-2016Objectives

  • To share in spiritual living
  • To live a testimony according to the gospel
  • To share in daily living
  • To live in Obedience, Poverty and Chastity

The Beginnings

In 1997, Sr. Happiness Khumalo (a student from a Kenosis’ first year Training Programme) entered her Noviate as the first Kenosis Sister. She is the Chaplain to the Community and Prioress to the Convent and is responsible for women who are interested in becoming sisters. The Kenosis Community is an independent body which does not fall under the responsibility of the church but which has established a partnership with the Sister’s convent and which shares links to the different Lutheran Churches. Since 1997 Sister Happiness Khumalo has been joined by Sisters Lindeni Mavundla and Sister Sithembile Mpanza.

Life in the Sisterhood

The Sisters are responsible for the devotional life of the Kenosis Community. They have regular morning, lunch and evening prayers, which are open to the rest of the community. They offer Zulu prayer for Zulu speakers who live and work at Kenosis. Saturday morning is their day of silence where time is spent in meditation and prayer. Furthermore they assist in the life of the bigger community and are paid to do so. Sister Happiness in addition to Chaplaincy duties assists families in the wider community who are caring for orphaned children. She is second-in-charge at Kenosis Community Trust and takes on the duties of the manager when he is away. Sister Lindeni for her part is employed to oversee the activities of the E.C.D. Crèche at Kenosis. Finally, Sister Sithembile is tasked with house-keeping office, church, Hall and accommodation facilities at Kenosis as well as feeding at the Crèche.

Where do the Sisters Live?

The Sisters live in the Main building of the community. It is here that they often extend hospitality to partners, stake-holders and visitors to the Kenosis Community.

The Process of becoming a Sister

Entrance into postulate – Any women wishing to join the postulate will be introduced to the sisters’ community life by living with them in the Main building for a minimum of 6 months. The postulate is an initiation period into community life.

Entrance into noviate – The noviate lasts for a minimum period of two years. During this time the novice has to deepen her vocation and her true identity in Christ. This time is also the time in which the noviate is helped to get used to all practicalities within the community. She may be equipped or given training for specific work in order to serve either within and/or outside the community in due time.

Temporal Vows – After a minimum of two years’ probation as a noviate, a woman takes a further step to engage herself in the three vows for which she was prepared during the noviate. The three vows are; obedience, chastity and poverty. After these vows have been taken, she lives according to them for a minimum of two years, before making “final vows”

Final Vows – The final vows are taken at the end of the process of formation. When making these vows the sister says “yes” to a religious life and binds herself to the community. The three steps leading up to her final vows help her to deepen herself in this kind of life and to decide in time whether such a life is her calling or note.

Relationship between Kenosis and Kenosis Sisters’ Convent

The Kenosis Community Trust recognises the Kenosis Sisters’ convent as part of its initial founding vision and corresponding to its calling to be a Christian witness in the community in which it is situated and the Lutheran Church of which it is a part.

The Kenosis Community Trust supports the Convent as an independent entity which governs its own affairs. By agreement, The Kenosis Community Trust, established a partnership with the Kenosis Sisters’ Convent whereby it offers the Kenosis Sisters’ Convent the financial support and guidance of the Kenosis Community Trust.

The Kenosis Sisters’ have been encouraged to elect amongst themselves a prioress, treasurer and secretary and develop a constitution and manual to guide their life together. Kenosis Community Trust can consult on this issue but this is finally a decision for the sisters only.

The Trust continuers to support the sisters by supplying free accommodation, water and electricity. In addition to this the Trust has indicated its willingness to institute a fund for the Convent, to be used for retreats, workshops, and support for novices who join the convent. The Trust has undertaken to support this fund with a monthly grant. The Trust encourages the sisters of the Convent to each contribute at least 10% of their monthly income to this fund, to build up the fund to support novices and any other work of the convent. The sisters are also encouraged to request special donations for the convent from congregations, or participants at retreats

Novices are not supported by the Trust, other than by the monthly grant to the Convent. After their first vows, Sisters may apply for posts within the other projects of Kenosis while new posts could be created by motivating this to the Trust. Novices may also look for work outside the Kenosis community. No sister is automatically supported by the Trust and there is no financial gratuity for the sisters other than their salary for working in the Kenosis Community projects. The sisters working in paid posts of the Kenosis community are treated as any other employee with salary and pension, regulated sick leave and the expectation that they fulfill the duties in their job description.

All the Convent’s income and expenditure is required to be recorded in formal bookkeeping and the Trust offers the services of its administration to do so. Quarterly financial reports are expected to be submitted to the Trust and the Trust has reserved the right to audit this bookkeeping as it sees fit.

The sisters and novices are entitled annual leave from the community for retreats or church related activities in addition to their personal leave. Special leave can in addition be applied for concerning convent related activities. The Convent is allowed an annual allowance to utilize a Kenosis vehicle for Convent related activities. Further travel costs may be claimed from the convent fund if required. The Convent is expected to present quarterly reports on their activities, detailing how they serve the increase of spirituality in the Community and Church, and their internal spiritual activities, to the Trust.

Interested in Becoming a Sister?

Any women who believes she has a calling to become a Sister is welcome to direct inquiries to Sister Happiness Khumalo at cell no. 084 617 3163 or e-mail kenosis@pmbnet.co.za.