I met Sister Rose several years ago, on my first visit to Uganda. She runs an orphanage/school located 10 kilometers west of the city of Masaka (located 133 kilometers southwest of Kampala, the capital of Uganda). She and her colleagues, 9 sisters and 2 brothers (with the help of several civilians), care for, educate, and board upwards of 400 children at Byana Mary Hill orphanage/primary school.
She does this with no support from the Catholic Church. To the institutional church, her small group are considered rogues. Although it’s hard to imagine Sister Rose as a rogue anything. I’m not sure why they are no longer associated with official Catholicism, but I have heard two explanations. The first reason involves the institutional church’s refusal to acknowledge their work with the poor children.
But I think the bigger reason has to do with their faith. The sisters and brothers (and their benefactor) believe they have received several apparitions involving the Virgin Mary. These visitations have not been officially sanctioned by the Mother Church. But the nuns believe these apparitions have lead to miracles.
There is something wonderful about Sister Rose. She is small, quiet, and very reserved, but obviously very strong. The sisters and brothers do the best they can with the very limited resources that they have. Several Utah groups are trying to help including: Engineers Without Borders, SeeeMe Institute, and Interethnic Health Alliance. And the Sorenson Foundation contributed financial support toward the construction of a new dormitory.
Sister Rose is very much like Mother Teresa of India. Except she does not get all the publicity.
I had lunch with Sister Rose today. She was dressed in her beautiful white habit and her simple religious jewelry (at the school she wears a simple brown habit). She looked like a saint. Sister Rose was nice enough to let me hug her. I hope I didn’t do something inappropriate. If there is a heaven or a Celestial Kingdom, she will certainly be there. If she’s not there, I don’t want to be there.