Sr Giovanna Sambusida was a very special guest at the Centre for Multicultural Pastoral Care during the recent NAIDOC Week celebrations.
Sr Giovanna is an Adelaide based Canossian Sister and the subject of the recently published book Ngawi Mulanga, that recounts her four year experience of Ministry among the Jaru people of the Kimberley region.
In Brisbane on a retreat before making a family visit home to Italy, Sr Giovanni delighted the gathering with her tales of warmth and spirituality among indigenous peoples.
The book was a collaborative effort between Sr Giovanna and the Adelaide based writer Vincenzo Papandrea.
The project was borne out of a chance meeting between the two, where they both discovered a mutual appreciation for the richness of Aboriginal spirituality.
After extensive interviews with Sr Giovanna, Papandrea weaved the narrative of her experiences into a novel, with the book’s title Ngawi Mulanga, meaning “God is here” in the Jaru language, being the link between the various chapters.
“It was the richness of the Aboriginal spirituality that awoke in me the desire to share their extraordinary stories,” Sr Giovanna said.
“That great generosity of spirit was first seen when I received my Aboriginal name.
“From that moment on I was a part of the Jaru community and could call others with the name mother, father, brother or sister,” she said.
Sr Giovanna explained her ministry in the Kimberley was very much a two-way street, with the Jaru being able to impart just as much knowledge to her as she could to them.
“We have much to learn from the Aboriginal spirituality, which is based upon respect and has lived harmoniously with nature for over 40,000 years,” Sr Giovanna said.
“The book is meant to be a positive instrument to combat the racism that still exists in the community.
“The story of Bonnie Deegan will help us to understand the sufferings of the stolen generation and I hope and pray that their experience of loss of family and culture will never be repeated again,” she said.
Unfortunately for local readers the experiences related in the book are beyond them as it has so far only been published in Italian.
CMPC Director Mr. Jose Zepeda said he would look into seeking a grant for the translation of the book as it would prove an invaluable resource for all Australians.
Released by Catholic Communications Office