“People in Tanzania and other African countries have much to teach us about building relationships, community values, hospitality, generosity and celebration.”
For more than forty years, Sister Janet Srebalus of Indianapolis, Indiana, has been building and sharing community with the Tanzanians. She joined the Maryknoll Sisters in 1962. Four years later, she was assigned to Morogoro, Tanzania, where she taught at the Marian Secondary School. She was both teacher and librarian when she moved to Dar Es Salaam to teach at a secondary school for boys.
By 1973, Sister Janet grew more involved in youth ministry, vocation development, and social-pastoral work. She became the director of Caritas Development, which encourages small development projects on group and parish levels.
Her return to the United States in 1978 was as part of the team that prepares new Maryknoll Sisters for their mission assignments. Returning to Tarime, Musoma, Tanzania in 1986, a new focus became women’s development and empowerment. This group helped rural and town women identify problems and needs in themselves, families and village communities. In Musoma she also worked in formation with the Immaculate Heart Sisters, and with small Christian Communities.
Moving to Mwanza, she became the co-supervisor in the clinical pastoral education program. She focused on training counselors to meet the growing needs of people living with AIDS and gave seminars, retreats and spiritual direction. In 2000, she returned to Maryknoll to become the Co-Executive Coordinator of the Maryknoll Affiliates.
In 2008, she returned to Africa where she helped in feeding the internally displaced people in Nairobi after the post-election crisis in Kenya. She is currently in Morogoro, Tanzania, collaborating with groups working on holistic education and training youth and women leaders.
She’s also involved in prison ministry, is an advisor to a women’s development group, and is a member of the regional vocation-admission team.
“Looking back over the ten years, we are very proud of the service that has been rendered by all the staff members, and also by all the people who have helped us with the work in HIV/AIDS for the Nyakato Program.”