Sister Margie Hosch leads a wholeness retreat in Zambia

Sister Margie

Sister MargieGREENVILLE—It’s hard for Franciscan Sister Margie Hosch to be unemotional when she talks about her three trips to Africa, the most recent of which was in July.
Frequently there’s a catch in her voice when she talks about the people she has met in the Solwezi Diocese in Zambia: children who have to walk miles along dirt roads to the nearest school; families who travel more miles along dirt roads, carrying their offerings — often fowl or a goat — to church outposts, where years can go by without a Mass.
Through it all, the 76-year-old Franciscan said, she has been inspired by the faith of the people in the poorest region of Zambia.
“What do you say when you think of experiencing the spirit of the people, touching base with that extreme poverty of the whole region, and picking up their deep faith and joy in gathering together to celebrate God’s love?” she asked recently while discussing her travels from her Greenville home.
In addition to mission work, Sister Margie’s latest trip was at the behest of Bishop Charles Kasonde, bishop of the Solwezi Diocese, who invited her to give a Wholeness Holiness Retreat to the priests and sisters of the area.
That was also a challenge to Sister Margie, who had never been “called … to this walk with our God with men as the retreatants.”
In her reflections on her trip, Sister Margie wrote “only because I did a trust walk with my doubtful self did I agree to this walk of faith.”
She also talked to friends and other sisters about the trip, and said, “everyone said ‘sure, sure you should go!’”
The experience enriched her even  more, Sister Margie said, and proved very different from the retreats she usually leads — for sisters only — at Springbank Retreat in Kingstree.
Now she hopes here experience will inspire other people. She is starting to think about a trip next year, which will involve fundraising and coordination with people here and in Africa.
“I think when I witness the suffering and looking in the faces of these people, and their need being so great, I would go there,” she said. “I say, ‘Jesus, why didn’t you call me earlier?’”
Click here to read Sister Margie’s reflections.