Religious sister travels 7,500 miles to speak in Norwich

St John the Baptist cathedral in setting sun. Picture: JO CLARKE

St John the Baptist cathedral in setting sun. Picture: JO CLARKE - Credit:

Norwich residents were visited by a 'unique and inspiring' guest to commemorate this year's Lent.

Religious Sister Yvonne Mwalula Mwila travelled more than 7,500 miles from Zambia to speak at St John's Cathedral's special Mass celebration on February 25 on Unthank Road.

The visit came as part of a nationwide tour by Sister Yvonne, in which she paid tribute to the work carried out by Catholic aid agency CAFOD, which supports vulnerable communities in her homeland.

She also shared her own stories with residents.

She said: 'As a young girl I always wanted to become a sister because I was very inspired by the works that the sisters were doing in my home town

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'They opened my eyes to the greatest poverty, sicknesses - including during the highlight of the HIV pandemic - and just the great suffering that was very near to where I lived.

'Changing lives and providing small windows of opportunities for children with disabilities have been my greatest passion.'

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CAFOD worked with communities across Zambia during Lent by providing training in fish farming, beekeeping and crop farming as well as helping individuals develop business skills such as bargaining, marketing and setting up business partnerships.

It is estimated that over half of Zambians live below the poverty line, meaning families struggle to meet basic needs such as food, housing and clothing.

Sister Yvonne belongs to the Congregation of the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. The group's previous work included setting up a community school and providing support for disabled children.

The aid agency's representative in East Anglia, Stephen Matthews, said: 'We would like to say a big thank you to Sister Yvonne for joining us this Lent. Lots of people in Norwich have fundraised for CAFOD and it's great to hear about some of the work their generosity has made possible.

'It is the continued support from across England and Wales that helps empower communities around the world and it is so great to hear all the stories and experiences from Sister Yvonne in Zambia.'

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