Today our friary here in Toronto said good-bye to Friar Ferena Lambe, OFM Conv, who is from our Order’s province in Zambia. He is a doctoral student in Rome at the Pontifical Gregorian University and is working on the the philosophy of the Canadian Jesuit Bernard Lonergan. He was with us since October to do research at the Lonergan Institute of the University of Toronto.
Ferena is a bright, gracious and delightful friar who was a joy to live with. He helped out from time to time at the parish as well. He has some amazing insights about the application of Lonergan to this homeland in Zambia. It was a joy to learn about the life of the people there, issues such as HIV and the condom debate from an African position. His thought on the issue is that B16’s position on AIDS in Africa is pretty much on target. People in Zambia do not use condoms on a regular basis. Education does not help as many engage in sexual activity after heavy drinking. The other issue he noted was that the condoms that are sent to Africa often sit in containers in the heat for a very long time and are often damaged. For him the condom issue was a North American answer to an African problem. The solution for him was to confront issues of poverty and justice.
According to Friar Ferena our friars in Zambia who have been helped by the friars from the USA and from Italy are now taking on more and more of the direction for the Order in their country. They seem to have a great sense of hope, creativity and willingness to live the Gospel.
In the last few days of his stay here Jonathan Nix (a candidate with the Order) and I took Ferena to see the CN Tower. He had some fun getting him to jump up and down on the glass floor. We also visited, at Jonathan’s pleading, a local brewery. Steam Whistle brewery was founded by 3 guys who had been fired when another brewery that employed them got bought out and fired all the employees! They then decided to start another brewery. There were going to call it 3 Fired Guys, but figured it wasn’t the best for marketing. They settled on Steam Whistle in honour of that old concept of the steam whistle that signaled the end of good day’s work and time to relax with a beer. We had a great tour with Katie who showed us how socially and environmentally responsible the brewery is. An interesting fact is that you can look at the bottom of the bottle and still see a small homage to the founders with the “3FG” (3 Fired Guys) in the glass. I think Steam Whistle is who we want to invite to our parish next time we have an event! Oh, and Ferena had his VERY FIRST taste of beer at the brewery. Priceless!
We also took another day to show Ferena Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake. He was quite impressed by the beauty of the Falls, especially in the cold of winter. However, I think he’s seen better falls in Zambia 🙂
I got an official invitation to visit him when he returns to Zambia… to come and see the difficult challenges the people face, and also the tremendous joy of the Zambian people. We might even make our way to Livingston and take a look at Mosi-oa-Tunya Falls (aka Victoria Falls).
Bon Voyage Ferena and good luck writing and defending your thesis!