Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard

Newsletter No. 5

April, 1995

Yvonne Renaud was invested as a Dedicated Member of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard

CONGRATULATIONS Mrs. Yvonne Renaud made her private promise during High Mass on Sunday, 12th March, 1995. She was accompanied by her husband, Louis and her daughter Ingrid, Howard and Dane. As she made her promise she was surrounded by the other dedicated members of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard:

Solemn Admission to the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard as a Dedicated Member

Private Promise

Lord Jesus Christ!

In your Grace you have called me to serve you in the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard. I ask you at the intercession of our patron saints Mary, the Blessed Virgin and Mother of God, St. John the Baptist and the founder of the Order of St. John, Blessed Gérard Tonque:

Give me the courage, to live the faith in you as a convincing example and to meet our neighbour in charity, especially the needy aged, disabled, sick and injured.

Give me the needed strength, to live as an upright Christian selflessly in the spirit of your Gospel according to this resolution, to the honour of God, for the peace in the world and the welfare of our society.

I hereby promise to protect the faith and to serve the poor of our Lord Jesus Christ by devoting myself to the apostolate of the Catholic Church in Works of Charity as a Dedicated member of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard. I devote myself with all my heart, with all my soul and with all my strength to Jesus Christ and his body, the Church. I will strive to be the yeast of God's love in my entire life as a member of my family, at my work and in my leisure time.

May God help me, guide me and strengthen me to fulfil what he has called me to. Amen.

Mrs. Renaud was - together with her husband Louis - the first member from South Africa to join the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard after its foundation. She has shown herself to be a most loyal and hardworking member, always ready to give assistance where necessary. No task did she refuse to take on, none was too big or too small. These she carried out to the best of her excellent abilities. Mrs. Renaud began the domestic training school and organised this for almost two years. She began the friendship club and has an excellent track record with this project. Yvonne attracted many helpers as well as senior citizens to this bimonthly meeting. During her year as a candidate for dedicated membership she proved to be an outstanding member and was welcomed by the other dedicated members with open arms. After the service, a delicious supper was enjoyed by all. Both Louis and Yvonne were presented with gifts, Louis for his 75th birthday and Yvonne in gratitude for all her help. The President and executive council and all the members would like to extend their heartiest congratulations to Yvonne and wish her many happy and fulfilling experiences in serving God through the needy. May God bless you abundantly.


PROFESSION: Our members Sr. Simone Larsen O.Cist. and Sr. Caterina Wisser O.Cist. pronounced their final religious vows as Cistercian nuns in the Heart of Mary Convent in Sostrup/Denmark. May God happily accept your life sacrifice and give you the happiness which is known to those alone, who entrust their life totally into God's hands.

JUBILEES: God's blessings to Sr. Cynthia Zulu O.S.B., who celebrated her Silver Jubilee of religious profession as a Benedictine Sister of Twasana Convent.

ANNIVERSARIES: Congratulations Dr. & Mrs. Thabethe who celebrated their silver wedding anniversary.

BIRTHDAYS: We wish a very happy birthday to Mrs Kim Corney who celebrated her 30th; Mrs Doris Soko who celebrated her 40th; Dr. Paul Thabethe and Mrs. Ivy Manqele who celebrated their 50th; I.H. Nadine Freifrau von Redwitz who celebrated her 65th; Herrn Hans Neumann who celebrated his 70th; Mr. Louis Renaud who celebrated his 75th; Mr. John W. Krupa who celebrated his 80th;

GOOD WISHES: To Mrs. Roalien Ogle. May God grant you a speedy and complete recovery.

CONGRATULATIONS: To Mr. Leon Kalkwarf who has just graduated from university as an architect. The degree of Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) will be conferred upon him on 22 April 1995 in Port Elizabeth. We are proud of you!

WELCOME to all our new members:

Rev. Sr. M. Cynthia Zulu O.S.B., Herr Dr. Uwe Bernzen, Frau Philomena Theresia Baumann, Frau Anna Schmid, Frl. Bernadette Weidling, Mrs Bernadette Sheelagh Coetzee, Mrs Ann L. Bateman, Frau Irmgard Inwald, Frau Ingrid Steinkohl, Hwst. Herr Prälat Anton Maier, Frau Gisela Freytag-Russell, Frau Wally Graf, S. H. Mauritius Graf von Brühl, Mrs. Carolyn Renaud, Herr Dr. Karl Leher, Herr Helmut Obländer, Herr Dr. Bruno Maria Zimmermann, Frau Maria Pistor, Frau Anni Strell, Miss Julia Helen Ardington, Herr Theodor Zeisel, Mrs. Johanna Carolina Banks, Frau Rosa Steber, Frau Marina Mayer, Mrs. Petro van der Merwe, Frau Ingeborg Schlottermüller, Mr Edward Jenkinson, Mrs Wilma Jenkinson, Master Guy Jenkinson, Mrs Kathleen Mary Cowie, Herr Peter Weingärtner, Miss Culiver Hetty Massa, I.H. Marie-Theres Gräfin Strachwitz, Hochw. Herr Konstantin Spiegelfeld, Mr Gerardo Juan Lima Coughlin, Frau Hanni Haberberger, Herr Werner Neckermann, Miss Dumisile P. Nene, Mrs Venesia Naude, Frau Maria Peters, Frau Helga Wagner, Miss Makhosazana Veronica Mthethwa, Mrs Beryl Bouchier.


Construction on the new building which will house the crèche/pre-primary school is almost complete. The children should move in within the next few weeks. It is with heartfelt gratitude that we watch these little humans growing both in body and in mind. The children are extremely joyous and on visiting this facility two weeks ago we found them in the middle of a physical exercise. Their teacher interrupted and encouraged them to sing for us. Fr. Gérard visited the project this week while the children were sleeping. He had taken with him some donated teddy bears, which he placed next to each child. You can imagine their faces when they awoke! Once again, through the medium of this news letter, we would like to thank all those wonderfully generous people who have made this facility possible. I am sure both the children and the parents are extremely grateful. The official opening ceremony will be held in July.


The architect's impression of the proposed Blessed Gérard's Care Centre The new Transitional Local Council of Mandeni has incorporated many of the old local authorities into one central body. This move, in the new South Africa, has created a lot of interest in our proposed care centre amongst the local population. It is with great anticipation that we can announce that most of the red tape has been dealt with and the building plans are reaching a stage of finalisation. Our donors have been extremely generous and we have received many pledges of help, both money and in kind, once the building gets under way. The local service clubs have all expressed their willingness to participate in this project. However, we should not become complacent about the fund raising as it will take an ongoing effort to furnish, equip and keep the care centre running on a long term basis. If you have any ideas for fund raising please contact our fund raising committee through the office.


We look for the best photos of the activities of our Brotherhood. You can enter as many pictures as you want. By entering you allow the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard to publish your photos. The decision of the jury is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Our jury is biased and will favour photos which clearly show, that the picture depicts a Brotherhood activity.

1st prize: A MINOX camera 2nd prize: Huft Paris Supralux 4 x 40 binoculars 3rd prize: A camera bag for a big camera & many accessories (The 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize are donated second hand equipment) 4th to 10th prize: one film All other entries will get a little gift.

Closing date: June 1st, 1995

Send your photos to:

Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard
Photo Competition
Box 440
4490 Mandeni


We will be having a meeting on Saturday, 6th May, 1995 at 1p.m. for all active members. When you come, please bring your thinking caps with you, as we will be looking for ideas on how YOU can become really active in our organisation. e.g. by becoming a part of the training team for the "home nursing" courses; by becoming one of the trainees in this course; or by becoming a member of one of the "mobile home nursing teams". There will be a guest speaker, who should be most interesting.

PLEASE COME AND JOIN US FOR SOME FELLOWSHIP. The meeting will be held both in English and in Zulu.


Some time ago I watched a movie about the discovery of the Titanic. The most sophisticated Hi-Tech equipment had been used to find the position of the shipwreck and to get to it deep down on the ocean floor. Remote controlled bathyscaphs equipped with robots had to be used to explore the remains of the horror. Heated discussions started between those, who regarded the wreck a grave, which must not be touched, and the scavenging explorers, who wanted to retrieve historically and financially most valuable parts. When I entered the empty grave of Christ last year personally, I felt somehow like leaving the surface of this world, diving into the cloudy depth of history, trying to imagine, how everything looked like before more or less pious scavengers had taken their tribute and before the sediments of time had covered Golgotha and the grave with buildings repeatedly destroyed and re-erected. I was annoyed by the crowds of tourists as they mixed with the serious pilgrims and desecrated the most holy place of this world noisily queuing to "do the Holy Sepulchre" by touching the stone, where the cross was standing, the stone where Christ's body was embalmed and the marble plate covering the place, where Christ has risen, just disturbed by groups of strange people from different Christian denominations who used their stage and photographic background for prayer and service. Although the wreck of the Titanic and Christ's grave have so many similarities, there is one - the decisive difference. The wreck is all, what is left from the Titanic, with all its sunken value buried in it, but Christ's grave is empty. The scavengers may indulge in touching the broken shell and have their picture taken as they climb the empty nest of salvation. They will never find what the grave contained, if they do not follow the message of the two men in brilliant clothes who appeared at the side of the women at Christ's grave and said to them: "Why look among the dead for someone who is alive? He is not here; he has risen." If we look for Christ in history we will only find his footprints, but if we open ourselves to him in faith, we will be as surprised as the women were, when they found the grave empty, because he is alive. We need not look for God beyond this world and life. The Easter victory over sin and death was our baptismal gift and he is as much part of our life, as we participate in his. What had begun at Christmas, that heaven came down to earth through Christ's incarnation, is fulfilled and perfected on Easter, where heaven came into ourselves through eternal life, as Christ himself is the life. If you look for the most valuable treasure of heaven and earth you need no Hi-Tech equipment, just a mirror. Look into it and you will see yourself, and if you look deeply enough, you will find God's footprints in your life. The more you follow then in his footsteps, the more you will find him, even if it might take you some time - like the disciples at Emmaus - to recognise the Lord.

Have a Blessed Easter!

Yours sincerely

Father Gérard

PS: A special Thank you to Clare Kalkwarf and Joyce Buss for compiling this newsletter!

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