Sister Gerry Bolzan's Visit

Sister Gerry Bolzan's Visit

Gerry Bolzan's recent time at Mount Notre Dame during her home visit provided a wonderful opportunity to interview her and learn about her ministry in Kenya. 

What attracted you to serve in Kenya?
In 2004, I was doing vocation promotion for the Ohio Unit when Catherine Horan, East-West Province, sent me an email from Kenya telling me that the Kenya Unit had several Postulants. The Unit was building a Novitiate and would soon need a Novice Director. In 2005, while the Congregational Leadership Team were meeting in Kenya, Gerry and Rita Keesey, SND Base Communities, were invited to visit Kenya to discern about serving the Kenyan Novices. Gerry and Rita said, “Yes!”

What have been your ministries in Kenya?
Rita Keesey and I worked with the Novices as a team for seven years. Accompanied by the Novices, I also did vocational promotion. Now the Young Professed are doing vocation promotion. In 2012, Astrid Bamba came from Congo to serve as Novice Director. For several months, I taught classes for the Novices while helping Astrid learn English and get acclimated to Kenya. Then I was granted a three-month sabbatical that included a 30-day retreat and a program at St. Beno’s in Wales. Returning to Kenya, I continued to teach the Novices and volunteer with the Association of the Sisters of Kenya.

What attracts women in Kenya to our Congregation?
It is St. Julie’s spirituality, her life, her struggles, and her resilience. Currently, there are 9 Postulants, 5 Canonical Novices, and 4 Vow Novices, who were recently on “little missions” for six months.

What are the women’s backgrounds?
Many come from rural communities. Some come with teaching experience and a teaching certificate. Others are working toward a diploma and a degree.

What energizes you as you serve in Kenya?
I am excited by the new life in the Congregation. Several young women have come from Zimbabwe to the Novitiate in Kenya and then returned to Zimbabwe. After making Vows, some return to Kenya from Zimbabwe to complete their college degrees. It is exciting to accompany women from Kenya and Zimbabwe and share the community with the Sisters where I feel like part of the family.

Going forward… It has been a blessing to visit with my family in Maryland, New Jersey, and Chicago and with the Sisters at the Assembly and MND. Now I am ready to return for my 24th year of teaching the Novices and being a presence to our Sisters in formation.

Written by Sister Rita Sturwold, SNDdeN