CONSECRATED WOMEN IN DEVELOPMENT: A CASE OF THE HANDMAID SISTERS IN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IN ZAMBIA
Milingo, Tomaida C.
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The study was based on the literature review and personal experiences of the author (the author is former sister/consecrated woman). The study gives an overview of the lives of consecrated women in the Roman Catholic Church. Consecrated women are female religious persons in the Roman Catholic Church who lived religious life, which is a form of Christian living. These persons followed Jesus Christ in a more exacting way recognized by the church. The consecrated women professed simple vows of chastity, poverty and obedience and lived a common life. They have also dedicated their lives to the service of God and humankind. In Zambia, the consecrated women (nuns and sisters) belong to several religious congregations through which they operate and in turn contribute to the development of Zambia. These women are involved in many developmental projects. The developmental projects could be social or economic. There is no empirical or documented evidence of the contributions of consecrated women to development in Zambia. The study argues that through their contribution in health and education and social services, the consecrated women have been agents of change from time in memorial. Part of the data was derived from the study, which was conducted in one congregation of consecrated women namely the Handmaid Sisters. The main methods of data collection were document analysis, interviews and knowledge of the author as a former sister or/consecrated woman). The study revealed that the Handmaid Sisters had contributed to the development of the country in various ways namely in education, health and social services. This is evidenced in the number of educational institutions they are managing ( Pre-, primary and secondary schools, home craft and health centers).
The University of Zambia
- Religious Studies