Where is Rushooka?

   

Travelling from Kampala towards south-west after 480km, (120km from Mbarara) you will reach Rwahi, a small village on the main road, famous for onion-growing. Here you need to turn right towards some hills. After 4km of a bumpy road you will see a village which the locals call „Karere”, more generally known as Rushooka.






   




    The village is hidden among hills. The Franciscan friary, where we live and work, is surrounded by banana plantations and very basic houses made out of the clay. The local people welcomed brothers with open hearts and they are proud that their simple village has been chosen to be the mission.





   







The buildings of our Friary are square-shaped. There is a small yard inside. In trying to enter the Friary you need to pass through a newly built gate. Its form should remind visitors of the sacral architecture which is known in Europe.



  








    Before you pass the gate of the Friary you will see an old building. The passing of time has already destroyed it, but not long ago it was used for classrooms and dormitories and for pastoral purposes. Now it is rather a frightening sight, but as soon as we finish our pastoral centre, it shall be refurbished and then used for various projects i.e. carpentry or welding classes.








Above the main entrance to the cloister you can see the motto written in the Runyankole language „Mukama abahe obusingye n’okushemererwa” which means ‘May God give you peace and happiness.’ It is a very famous Franciscan greeting of our father,  St. Francis. Not everyone coming to see us has their problems resolved but all of them leave with our sincere blessing.



 







    In the centre of the cloister you can find our chapel, where the most important brother – our Lord Jesus lives. In 2008 the chapel was refurbished. Three times a day, everyday, friars come here to pray. In our prayers, especially on Saturday evenings, we remember all the people who support us financially and spiritually.






  




For many years our cloister was very open. This means that almost everyone could easily enter and leave, which was very disturbing for our community life. Recently, we have built a fence around our cloister, not to separate ourselves from the, people but to obtain the kind of privacy and isolation which is needed for a truly monastic life.







    Our father,  St. Francis urged us to look after our ‘donkey’ which in his language meant our body. So we understand the importance of the kitchen in our home. Beatrice from the secular order tries to feed four brothers from four different countries and different tastes for food. And honestly she is very good in her job. Sometimes also Fr. Carmelo helps her to cook truly international dishes. He is an exquisite cook.








Together with the chapel and recreation room, a refectory is the place where we meet most often. We come here not only to eat, but also to talk about our work and daily experience. It helps us to build a truly Christian community.













    Our recreation room is linked to a library. Because our work as missionaries very often means being isolated from mainstream science and culture, the brothers in our small library can recharge themselves intellectually through reading books and also watching some movies and television news from all over the world.



   









In Africa, especially in little villages, there is no running water. Also missionaries need to collect rain water for hygiene purposes and cooking. Fortunately Rushooka is blessed with a water supply system built also by missionaries. You can read about it in ‘Projects’.



 




   






The climate in Rushooka is very pleasant. Twice a year, we have a rainy season here. For the rest of the year we enjoy a beautiful summer with blooming flowers. Our garden is a good place for contemplation and prayer for our brothers. Visitors come here to take part in retreats or just to rest.





   







The main goal of our presence in Africa is to evangelise, which means to spread the Gospel and distribute sacraments. The place where we celebrate our faith is our parish church. Every Sunday and main feast days, people gather here to get close to God in prayer and worship.












The church is built in an octagonal shape. The interior is very modest with Franciscan attributes: the San Damiano cross, a statue of Our Lady. It is rather large. Around 600 people can worship God here at one time. 










    Our mission is very much involved in education. For that purpose we have built and still are developing our pastoral centre, where ready for use classes, halls, a kitchen, bathrooms and also a dormitory will exist for those who travel to us from a long distance and need to stay overnight. Every week many groups meet in our centre to learn about God. We organize various lectures, seminars and retreats.