I have been a brother for more than 24 years, and my fellow-brothers have become my closest family members.

A family history

Brother Paul Onyango Onyisi is from Kenya but has been living and working in Namibia already since 2004. He is the formation leader for the postulants. Together with these boys he explores their vocation, and teaches them the first principles of religious life. This is done by means of catechesis, but also and above all, by means of sharing around questions such as: What is my motivation to become a religious brother? What does it mean to be a Brother CMM?

The community life within the Congregation is different from the family life they know from home. Brother Paul accompanies them on their way. “We do it together”, is his starting point. “We cook together, eat together, pray together, live in community.” This is á foundation for brotherhood, just like in a family situation, and yet different.

“I have been a brother for more than 24 years”, says Brother Paul, “and my fellow-brothers have become my closest family members.” Paul experiences this not only in his local community or in the CMM region of Namibia, but also worldwide, and throughout history. “Recently I visited the older brothers in the Netherlands and Belgium. They told me stories about the past, about their own history as brothers, and I was eager to listen to them because I realized: these are my brothers, so this is my family history!”

Paul has an unique view on mercy. “We often say: mercy is what we do, but in fact it is something we receive. You can do all kinds of good work, but the one who receives is the one who recognizes it as mercy. Mercy in the form of good health, or cure of a disease, or protection, a listening ear, good advice, or a nutritious meal. And if we can recognize God in these things, we experience His mercy.”

Nathalie Bastiaansen