RSCJ Uganda/Kenya Province | Sharing my story

The Story of Restie Nalubega

Restie NalubegaMy home is in Masaka District, Bisanje parish. We were many in my family but as of now six have died! Two died as infants. I am born of Mr Paul Lubega and Ms Imelda Nantale. I have a strong relationship with my mother. I learned many things from my mother, especially patience, hard work and trust in God's providence. She is a very hard-working woman. I worked a lot with her to raise fees for my education.

I finished Primary Seven and did very well in the Primary Leaving Exams, but there was no money for Secondary School, so I stayed home for the first term. Then my mother asked the head of a private secretarial college to allow me to study there and work for part of my fees and he agreed. During holidays I would go with Mum to cultivate the school garden for my fees, and I would also go to different villages to do piece work (cultivation) and I collected papyrus and made mats and sold them. We also sold coffee. This went on for 3 years until I completed the secretarial and accounting course. After the course I got a job in Mbuye Farm School, Rakai district where I worked for 4 years while assisting my younger brothers where I could.

I had a desire to attend Secondary School in order to be able to earn more, but also, in my heart, I wanted to become a religious Sister. I shared my desire with some people who advised and encouraged me as well. I tried St. Joseph's Secondary School where I did an interview and was accepted. When I shared with my employer, he advised me to go to St. Theresa's, Bwanda, a girls' school. He introduced me to the head teacher who accepted to take me. He helped me partially financially and also I worked for the school to earn some money to cater for my other needs. I studied from Senior Two to Senior Four; I did very well. While in Senior Three, Sisters from different congregations visited the school for vocations' promotion. I had chance to listen to all of them but was most attracted by Sister Margaret Mwarili, who spoke for the Sacred Heart Sisters. When I talked to her personally, she briefed me about the requirements for one to join and with that I decided to do my A-levels. While waiting for O-level results, I met Sister Elizabeth Nakayiza by chance and she invited me to go with her to Kalungu. I was struck by the warm welcome and right away I felt at home. Elizabeth helped me to understand better what Margaret had said. I thought it better to get close to the Sisters and therefore better to study from Kalungu Girls' Training Centre as this would enable me to be close to the Sisters and see their way of life. I shared my thoughts with Sister Noellina who generously welcomed me and when my results came, she gave me an admission letter to begin my studies there. I am very thankful to her.

I spent two happy years in Kalungu. I was appointed Liturgy Prefect in Senior Five, which helped me to learn a lot about prayer and liturgy in general. I also learnt leadership skills. When I was young, at the age of eight, I used to admire the Sisters at my home parish who were in charge of preparing the altar making it ready for Mass. I remember telling my mother about it and how I wished to be like them when I grow up. She in turn asked me to learn English for some of those Sisters were “whites” who did not speak our local language. The time I was in charge of liturgy, I felt I was fulfilling my desire.

Whilst at school in Kalungu, I used to join the Sisters for prayers, meals, etc. every fortnight. That helped me to know them and their way of life. I felt free with them for they were simple, openhearted and very welcoming. Sister Noellina accompanied me and guided me. I am very proud of her. My A-level results were good but not good enough for government sponsorship to Makerere and I lost hope!! But Sister Noellina accompanied me and encouraged me. I applied to Makerere University as a private student and I was given Business Administration at Nakawa Business School. The Sisters helped me to go to Nakawa and I did a degree in Accounting, a 3-year course. When I finished I went back to Kalungu GTC where i was asked to teach Commerce and to help in the school canteen. Since I wasn't trained as a teacher I first feared and wondered how I would begin to teach. But I gained courage and support from the Sisters and I taught with ease. By that time I was accepted as an official aspirant.

In 2006 I was accepted to take another step and so I began to live in community as a postulant. I continued as a commerce teacher and after a year I left for Ggaba where I spent six months as a second year postulant. We were four, two from Uganda, one Kenyan and one from Egypt. It was a good experience as full time students. We were not involved in any other ministry as we had been in our first year as postulants when living in different communities. We had classes, games, visiting people around especially the sick, got involved in the parish choir among other activities. After that we joined the novitiate where we spent two years deepening our relationship with the Lord who calls us. Sister Eliane Auffray was our first novice mistress. Sister Eliane journeyed with us for six months and then Sister Betty Nakyanzi continued with us. We thank them for their selflessness.

We made our first vows on the 25th of July 2009 and had our celebration together with five of our sisters who were celebrating their silver jubilee. It was a big day, we thank God. I went home after two days where we had a thanksgiving Mass and many of our Sisters attended in person. I spent one week at home and then left for Karamoja - Kangole community where Sister Ursula the then provincial had missioned me. I have lived here (Kangole) for three years now. I am very thankful to the Lord for his goodness, merciful love and providence for me/us. My Sisters too have contributed tremendously towards what I am right now. I owe gratitude to each one and I still count on each one's prayers. May the Lord continue to bless us for good health and enable us to serve Him according to His will. May the grace, love and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all.

I thank the Lord for bringing me all this way! I never would have dreamed it possible!

With all my love and gratitude,
Restie Nalubega.