DHS Community Connects with Tanzania


vayce matonia
    Sr. Vayce Matonya shares her experience with our DHS community

Thousands of miles over land and water separate Hartford, Connecticut from Tanzania in East Africa. Yet, it is as if these great distances did not exist when one visits the DHS community of Bethany, enters into a older well-maintained home on Charter Oak Place, walks into the kitchen and is greeted with smiles and open arms by Sr. Vayce Matonya, a native Tanzanian who is living an intercultural community experience while studying in the state capital.

Vayce is a member of the religious congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Mary Immaculate. She was born and received her early and high school education in Tanzania where she met the Sisters while attending school. After her first profession she traveled to Kenya to lend a helping hand in one of the Congregation’s welcoming centers. Two uears later she was missioned in Italy where she spent 3 months in Rome and 3 months traveling through other parts of the country, honing her knowledge of the Italian language and helping out in different communities in whatever way she could. Upon returning to Tanzania she spent her days working with young women teaching them clothing design and sewing techniques. 

With classroom experience and multi-cultural living as part of her dossier, Sister was missioned to Pennsylvania where she joined other members of her community who staffthe Verna Montessori School for children of pre-school through grade 8. She also continued her studies throughout these 7 years, specializing in the Montessori method. It was her pursuit of advanced certification in this domaine that brought her to Hartford to complete the program. When the religious congregation with which she initially found housing in Hartford moved away, the Daughters of the Holy Spirit were contacted by the Vicar for Religious. The rest is history and parts of it history still in the making.

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Sr. Gertrude Lanouette, Provincial, chatting with Sr. Vayce

Vayce arrived in the community a few weeks ago and in her own words “ have been made to feel most welcomed and a real part of the community”. She looks back on the brief time she has been there and adds “I have found life here to be very interesting. There is much cooperation and happiness; we speak freely to one another and share our life experiences”. The Daughters in the community were also eager to speak about their positive experience with their guest, who as Sr. Marie Gertrude says “acts just like one of them...she even cooked us dinner a few days ago when we had appointments. We came home and dinner was waiting for us”. Both Vayce and the DHS agree that while there are differences in their backgrounds and lives on the whole, there seems to be a special bond that has drawn them close to one another. Sister Montonya states that “being in this community makes me feel welcomed because we listen to one another, no matter the topic. We faithfully pray together and very importantly, we stick to the schedule that has been planned.” 


Sister has been able to profit from the presence of Sr. Marie Gertrude, a life-long teacher and school administrator who has been able to assist Vayce in her teaching skills by offering advice and playing the role of student. 

Sister will finish her studies and graduate in May and her international community is looking forward to celebrating with her and attending the ceremonies. Soon thereafter Sr. Vayce will return to her own community’s Montesorri School in PA where she will take on the duties of the present Superior. She does hope to come back one day to visit and says that she will leave with a greater appreciation for this international experience and for the sisters who made her feel “like one of them”. Can Tanzania really be that far away?

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     Vayce with Sr. Marie Gertrude sharing a laugh in the kitchen
Vayce Matonia
    Acting pupils Sr. Marie Gertrude and Sr. Janet Lewis watch their teacher attentively





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