The Adventurous Nun – Stories my family told me is a comprehensive biography of Sister Mildred Lungile Madlala, a Franciscan Missionary of Mary (FMM), born on Mistake Farm, KwaZulu-Natal south coast, South Africa. As a Sister, a nun, a Franciscan Missionary of Mary, she dedicated her whole life to God until the end. She wanted to tell her story to inspire, teach and motivate others. This book is written for anyone in the world, including people who do not belong to the Roman Catholic Church.
As a FMM, Sister Mildred worked and met people in many different countries including South Africa, Congo, Kenya, Mauritius, France, Upper Volta (Burkina Faso), Italy, Switzerland, England and Madagascar. She was a teacher by profession, and an interpreter as she was fluent in English, French and Swahili, and could converse in Italian, with isiZulu being her mother tongue. This biography is thus available in French, Swahili, and, importantly, in isiZulu, because she believed in communicating to people in their mother tongue.
Sister Mildred attended school at St Francis College Mariannhill with the late liberation struggle icon Steve Biko. In later life she wholeheartedly followed her calling as a nun which she first felt when she was just eight years old. Over the years she met and engaged with Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Otunga, and slept in the home of Mary of the Passion. Her adventurous journey with Jesus was not without danger, though; she was followed by a lion in Kenya, and survived the civil war in Zaire before finally succumbing to Covid-19 in Madagascar.
Although she didn’t spend much time with them, Sister Mildred’s love for her blood relatives never diminished. Throughout the book tales are woven of family interactions, to preserve the history of this family which produced such an extraordinary woman.
Practically, the book explains what a nun is as well as the work that nuns are involved in. When Sister Mildred was in Rome, she wrote about her life in the form of poems which are published here. In the book, she also shares lessons that she learnt throughout her journey.
It’s a stirring story of a woman’s passion for Jesus, but most of all for her passion to serve His people to the very best of her ability. Sister Mildred did this with alacrity until the very end.