I am the Way, the Truth and Life! I am the resurrection. Anyone who believes in me, even though that person dies, will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this? (John 11:26)
Millicent Cebekhulu started working in the Scholasticate of Comboni Missionaries of Pietermaritzburg in 2009. She was for us not just a mere worker or cook, but a sister, a mother and a teacher. She played a very direct role in our formation to priestly and missionary life. She, through her skillful work, has formed so many Comboni Missionaries working around the world. And until some months ago, when she fell sick, she was doing so.
My brothers, those here present and far, and I personally want to convey our special ‘Siyabonga Kakhuku’ to Millicent, our sister and mother, for having contributed positively towards our priestly and missionary formation. Each Comboni Missionary who stayed here in Kwasikujana can say something special about Millicent. My brothers and I, here present, greatly acknowledge her goodness and love, her dedication and commitment to our community, and also to the Parish, especially in the area of catechesis. Millicent was for us a teacher and a catechist as she was the first person to teach us a few words in Zulu, like ‘Sawubona…Unjani…Ngiyaphila…Siyabonga…Uvelaphi…’, and how to say few prayers in Zulu, like ‘Udumo…Baba Wethu….Yethi Maria…’.
She also taught us how to cook and bake. I was one of her pupils, and today I can surely say I am a quite good cook. Moreover, some of my brothers here present have become chefs and good bakers after so many good lessons given by her.We no longer buy cakes to celebrate our birthdays as we have great bakers amongst us in the community. Is not this great?
She also worked with Fr. Vicente in the prison as catechist, interpreter and preacher. Actually, she is the one who taught Fr. Vicente, in his old age, to read IsiZulu so that he could celebrate the Mass in prison and also here in the Church. Is not this great? If any of you, my brothers and sisters, present here in this Church, ask any of my brothers here present and those far, what they have to say about Millicent…ah, my God! We can only rejoice and thank God for giving us such a great mother here in South Africa.
Once I asked Millicent, how can I be a good cook? She told me that the only ingredient for your food to be good is ‘Uthando…Love’, Love for the people for whom you are cooking. And that is what made her well-cooked meals taste and appetizing, and that is what made her so special to us and to so many Comboni Missionaries who she formed and met. She loved us as her sons and brothers. She was part and parcel of our community and of the Comboni family in South Africa. She was a great catechist and an active Catholic. She was a woman of faith, a woman of Christ. She lived here on earth doing good and spreading love and the Good news of the Kingdom of God, and so we are sure that she is now in the presence of the one she served and loved while she was amongst us.
Mama Millicent, we the Comboni Missionaries here present and far want to express our heartfelt gratitude for what you did for us and especially for your big heart, for your goodness, love, dedication and commitment to our community. We thank you for your commitment to our Parish and to your brothers and Sisters, sons and daughters, preparing for the Sacraments of Initiation. We thank you for your dedication and commitment to the prison ministry with Fr. Vicente, Mama Magagula and the Brothers. I am sure most of the inmate will remember your good deeds and words.
We also ask you to forgive us the times we wronged you, the times we never responded positively to your great goodness, love and commitment. As we also forgive you the times your human limits blared your goodness and love for us.
To your Sons and daughters, here present and to your entire family and relatives and friends, we say: Your greatness, goodness and Love will be always cherished and remembered amongst the Comboni Missionaries. May the Lord bless and strengthen, with his Holy Spirit, each one of them, and make them cherish and embrace, as you did, what is good and loving for the sake of their faith in Jesus Christ, our living Lord. Millicent, in bodily we shall not see you again, but you live, because your God is a God of life, and life eternal. In God, with God and through God we all live forever and ever.
Millicents, we now wish you a peaceful rest. May the God, whom you faithfully served here on earth, give you that place prepared especially for you in his eternal banquet together with Mary, Joseph, the Apostles, and the Angels and the Saints of the Church.
Uhambe Kahle uMama wethu.
Pietermaritzburg, 26th November 2016
Priests and Scholastics of the Scholasticate of Pietermaritzburg
Fr. Joseph Lelo, Fr. Manuel Casillas, Fr. Paul Kambo, Fr. Vicente Reigh Sch. Mario Pellegrino, Sch. Esseh Kossi, Sch. Robert Kinena, Sch. Hippolyte Apedovi Sch. Maurice Malema,Sch. Achile Dansou, Sch. Matthews Kutsaile, Sch. Ronald, Sch. KellySch. Charlemagne Dossavi, Sch. Pascal Adrupiako, Sch. Michael Sebutinde and Sch. Justus Oseko
By Raissone Farnela