Father Jean-Baptiste Rousseau, O.M.I. experienced extraordinary supernatural joys during his apostolate of fifty-four years in Lesotho, Africa. One of the most consoling ones, undoubtedly, was the conversion of Motjeka, an elderly polygamist.
One Sunday, in 1937, this totally unknown fellow came to knock at the missionary’s door. Without hesitation he admitted proudly: “Father, I have come to become a convert. You see, some time ago, while I was in the fields, I found a rosary. After I returned to my home, during the night I had a dream. A lovely lady, dressed in white and holding a rosary in her hand, appeared to me. She was more beautiful than anyone I had ever seen… Softly she said to me: ‘Motjeka, become a Christian.’ Since then this dream has pursued me day and night. I went to the village chief. He allowed me to speak about it with you.” Father welcomed him favorably. On the following Sunday, to everyone’s surprise, he called this man to the front and gave him a special blessing.
Six long years of catechetical instruction were necessary before he could be baptized. Think of it! He was a bigamist, with two wives. The fist wife had to approve, as she had accepted the second one in her home as her servant. The latter also had to give her consent and cease all cohabitation. For his part, Motjeka promised to provide for the latter and her four children. The catechumen agreed to these conditions which were solemnly expressed in the presence of the chief and many Christians. The best proof of his faithfulness was his assiduity at prayer during six years, even though he had to travel for an hour and a half by horseback, to cover the distance between his home and the church.
A Child of God
In 1943, on the feast of Christ the King, Motjeka Ntlou became a “child of God” in the Catholic Church. This was for him a day of great joy, as well as for Father Rousseau and for the parishioners of Saint Francis. Two years after this memorable Baptism, a message reached the missionary: “Quick, Father, Mortjeka is dying and wishes to see you.” The Oblate left at once to bring the Sacraments to this fervent Christian, who received him with unutterable joy. He died the next day. Surely, “the lovely lady dressed in white” must have waited at the door of heaven to receive her dear child.
André DORVAL, OMI