Canossian Daughters of Charity Sister Melissa Dwyer, once a javelin thrower with Olympic aspirations, now uses her love of athletics to inspire young African women, reports The Catholic Leader.
Thirty-one-year-old Sr Melissa was recently back in Brisbane after four years in Malawi to make her final profession of vows at a Mass celebrated by Fr Wally Dethlefs.
In Oxley's Canossa Chapel on December 8, surrounded by Australian family and friends, the taking of these vows filled her with "absolute joy and contentment".
"This final step felt so incredibly right," she said. "Many people who saw me that day say I was beaming."
With her were the leaders of the Canossians' North-eastern Africa Province - provincial Sr Giovanna Tosi and vice-provincial Sr Immaculata Rugumila. The presence of the African Canossians on her special day was most fitting.
As Sr Melissa explained, the people of Balaka village in Malawi have become like a second family to her.
In Malawi, she is head mistress of Bakhita Secondary School, a girls' boarding school of about 400 students. "I'm extremely happy and love my mission over there," she said.
"Also, I'm very much supported by my fellow Canossian Sisters. We all share the desire to radically follow Christ and bring the Gospel to others."
The community lives in the convent about 500m from the school in the same compound. Sr Melissa describes the people of Malawi, one of Africa's poorest nations, as "beautiful and welcoming". "Malawi is known as the 'warm heart of Africa'," she said.
FULL STORY Sr Melissa throws her heart into Malawi (Catholic Leader)