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Men Have Tempted Me- Rev. Sister 

Interviewed By Kini Nsom

Rev. Sister Appolonia Budzee of the Tertiary Sister of Saint Francis in Shisong, Bui Division of the Northwest Region, says many men have made seductive attempts at her despite the fact that she is a Rev. Sister. "I tell them I am married to Jesus. I try to explain to them the choice I made to become a Reverend Sister," Sister Budzee who is the Public Relations Officer of the Shisong Cardiac Centre states in an interview with The Post in Yaounde recently. The Rev. Sister who hails from Kikaikom in Bui Division holds an Associate Degree in Business from a US university. Excerpts:
 

Rev. Sister Appolonia Budzee (L)

The Post: When did you join the sisterhood?
 

Rev. Sister Appolonia Budzee: Way back in 1992.
 

When and how did you take the decision to be a Reverend Sister? Was it a calling or you were shot into it by circumstances?

I do not remember the specific date but I remember the circumstance. After primary school, I wanted to do one thing or the other. But then I was not satisfied with anything. When I went to church to pray, that is when I felt this was the place to be. So I got to know some sisters who were in my parish in Tatum and saw what they were doing and my heart went all there. So, I put all my energy and mind into it and asked God to lead me and I began the training process.
 

When did that happen?
 

That was way back in 1987 when I was attending secondary school and God just kept the fire burning in me. I would say God kept the fire burning in me because there were challenges on the way but the fire kept burning in me and I was feeling like this is the place to be all the time throughout my education. That was my experience.
 

You joined the sisterhood when you were in secondary school?
 

I was going to secondary school already when I felt the call in me. But officially I joined it when I completed [secondary school] in 1992.
 

Would you say that it’s the environment that influenced you; you saw the sisters and admired what they were doing?
 

It’s hard to draw that conclusion because I felt the restlessness before I saw the reverend sisters and something told me this is the way to go. I was not used to them at all. I had never greeted one of them before I felt this fire in me and the restlessness.
 

Can we say that you were suffering from indecision as to who you would be and then circumstances shot you into sisterhood?
 

Well, let us put it that way or rather God led me to that.
 

Have you ever thought or maybe regretted that you should not to have joined the ministry?

Yes, In the course of my education, there were a lot of choices and openings for me. Even at the same point there were people who came over and proposed marriage to me. These are real, rare moments to think about.

And our training is in such a way that when you begin, you do not make vows right away. We start from aspirants, postulants and so on, a total of about four years before you make temporal vows. So within that time, you have the opportunity to really figure out what God wants you to do. The church gives us the time to think and to reflect and not to get excited about something and jump into it without really knowing the full imp1ications. Oh yeah! There have been times like that, times of crises, times you feel like you do not really know what you want to do.
 

Some people join and do not continue?

Yes, but I succeeded in going through and making the final commitment in 2001. But I do think that I have arrived, my job is not yet complete and I have to keep working.
 

How did you weather the storm when those thoughts came lingering in your mind and you thought about other avenues in life?

I was very fortunate that I had good people to talk to. I would talk to a sister; priest or family member that I knew was supportive. And they would tell me; let’s check it out, let us pray about it and then after sometimes the light shone again.
 

You took the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. This means shunning earthly pleasures, living a life of self-abnegation. Have you ever had the urge to violate these vows at any moment?
 

You know for sure, vows of poverty, obedience and chastity are difficult. People usually think that when you become a sister you get some injection not to feel as human beings feel. But no, you just have to renew your choice to follow Christ every single moment.
 

Lay faithful usually gossip about this priest or that priest having an amorous affair with this or that sister. Have you ever had any temptation from any priest?
 

Not from a man of God.
 

But have you had it from other people?
 

Yes, other people [laughing] I have had temptation from men.
 

And what do you tell them?
 

I tell them I am married to Jesus. I try to explain the choice I have made. I am usually not wild when people come to tempt me except somebody I see is really dangerous. But when I see a reasonable person who comes to me making such a proposal, I put you down and we talk and I explain to you and all the time I have been understood.
 

Before you went to sisterhood you were not a virgin. Am I right?

That’s a little bit personal [both laughing] I say I don’t know a man.
 

All right you did not know a man?
 

Sure.
 

But at one time do you sit and have the urge of really trying to feel a man, just to discover how it is like?

As I said earlier, when we take the vows or when we make the choice or when God calls us to follow Jesus in this way, you have all the human tendencies; those basic human tendencies of pleasure. Whatever gives pleasure, whether pleasure of ownership of things or going to bed and making love all of those tendencies, are there. So personally, I have always been in continuous caution and battle.
 

How is the daily routine of a sister in a convent like?
 

You get up and pray. Even if you are apostolic religious as I am. Apostolic means you do work and do not only pray like the contemporary. You pray very early as 5 am, have holy mass then you go to work. Whatever work you are doing. There are regular times of work and for prayers.
 

What are the challenges you face living with other sisters. Do you have differences sometimes and quarrel?
 

We have a lot of diversities in the community. And when you live with people who are different, people you did not choose to live with, you always will not have the same mind on something. But in the course of our training, we learn how to deal with that; how to accept differences and to accept different people as gifts. In my experience since 1996, I have never seen sisters quarrelling and I have never quarrelled with anybody. We can disagree. I have been so skilled on how to handle that.
 

There is a saying that clergy men and women are human beings, but we don’t expect them to commit certain errors like ordinary people who did not take any vows. What’s your reaction?
 

We should really be moral models. Principally, we are called to be and being means to be good people. When I say as human beings we fail, it is because we can get angry. But it is not correct.
 

What is the best thing that has happened to you as a Rev. Sister? Has there been a time that you contemplated dumping your veil?

It is a difficult question because I have been living this life since 1996 and I had a lot of landmarks. Yes, my best day was when I made the final profession to be a member of the Tertiary Sisters of Saint Francis forever. That was in 2001 and I got a very profound relationship with God. The worst day… probably when I had some disagreement with someone [laughing].
 

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