Bakhita-Leons

Sister Bakhita enjoys the sights and sounds of Milwaukee

Sister Bakhita Ndokole, SDS first met U.S. Salvatorians in an English as a Second Language (ESL) Immersion Program led by Sister Jenada Fanetti, SDS and Lay Salvatorian Sue Haertel in Tanzania. It’s a program that changed her life and, ultimately, brought her to the United States this summer for more immersive ESL classes.

Under the expert tutelage of former teachers, Salvatorian Sisters Margaret Bosch, Marion Etzel, Mary Jo Stoffel, and Clarice Steinfeldt, Sr. Bakhita attended English lessons almost every day. Sr. Marion says, “Sr. Bakhita was a wonderful student. Even at an early hour, she was always ready for class. Eager to learn anything I taught her. We galloped through several books covering nature, animals, and Winnie the Pooh. She liked it all. She practiced speaking, reading, and writing. The time went so fast.”

Sr. Margaret also enjoyed instructing Sr. Bakhita and only had kind things to say about her former student: “What has given me much joy while teaching and living in community with Sr. Bakhita is her growing confidence. It is evident in her willingness to reach out to other Sisters and even telling jokes every once in a while. I will miss her smile.”

Sr. Bakhita’s language immersion went beyond the classroom to include diocesan mission appeal visits and outings throughout Milwaukee with her new friends. Accompanied by experienced mission appeal sisters, she visited six parishes throughout the Midwest to thank parishioners for their support of our international missions. Following a mission appeal in the Green Bay area, she observed, “One American parish is not like another American parish. Some sing and others pray silently. They are all nice places to visit.”

Although six times smaller than Tanzania’s biggest city, Dar es Saalam, Sr. Bakhita enjoyed plenty of adventures in Milwaukee. She tasted sweet treats at Leon’s Frozen Custard and the Wisconsin State Fair, gazed at the unique plants and animals at the Domes and Zoo, and spent many meals in the company of her U.S. sisters. Sister Liz Christensen, SDS says, “When S. Bakhita arrived in July she seemed shy and reluctant to talk – as I would be if I had just arrived in Tanzania to learn Swahili. Now I consider her a friend who is self-assured, funny, and generous. While staying at Salvatorian Sisters Residence she committed herself helping our less abled Sisters. She was also willing to try any food and discovered her liking of bacon and doughnut holes. I miss spending time with her but I look forward to keeping in touch via email.”

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