Dorothy Quits the Church

by Marsha Winsryg

Mother of 14 orphans in LivingstoneMother of 14 orphans in Livingston, ZambiaYou have to understand that working within the Catholic Church in Zambia is a safe and relatively high status position for a woman. She is guaranteed food and lodging and education. It is likely that she will participate in work that benefits the community or at least work in an office that organizes this work. When Dorothy quit the the sisterhood she offended everyone. The fact that she was being badly treated by some of the people in charge counted for exactly nothing.

Here is her letter to me about this time in her life:

My name is Dorothy and i am fifty five years of age. I was born in the family of 13 and i happen to be the 5th born. After i completed my education i decided to join sisterhood at the age of 18. I served as a religious sister for 18yrs. During that time i worked in different departments in three different dioceses. I also worked for the Cheshire homes Foundation as the sister in charge in Chipata in the Eastern Province of Zambia for 5 years.

I would like to share with you what happened to me the time i left the convent.
After having some bad experience in the the convent because of the way i was treated, i decided to inform my parents that i was leaving the convent. The reaction i got from my parents was very shocking. I was cursed and disowned. After i left i went to live with my elder sister who complained about me nearly every day that i had brought about some embarrassment in the family. There was never a day we had a meal together with her family. I was always isolated from them. My meals were served to me in my bedroom while they had theirs in the dinning room. If i tried to help with cooking, my sister would not eat. She only ate what she or her daughter cooked. This became a mental torture.
To try and give them their piece of mind, i decided to move to Livingstone. I only had 25 Kwacha ($3) with me and i decided to use the cheapest mean of transportation which was a train and i only spent 23 Kwacha. I traveled for two days and two nights without food and water. When i arrived in Livingstone, i decided to stay at the rail station since i didnt have friends or relations to go to. A good samaritan brought me in their home and decided to employ me as a maid in their home. I would clean their house and cook their food and prepare their children for school. I stayed with them for 6 months then i found a job and looked for my own accommodation and became independent.
I never forgot about home. (Next post tomorrow: Going Home)



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