A nun with a Karateka habit
Many spend their lives searching for their purpose in life hence the fascination with Malebogo Gracious Robert who at the tender age of 25 years is certain of her path.
Born and bred in Gaborone West, Robert has always known that she was born to commit her life to serving God.
From an early age she was drawn to good deeds of others and mentions Mother Theresa as a huge influence in her life.
She recalls watching a documentary on the world religious icon that left an imprint on her mind.
“I was fascinated and went about reading about this iconic figure. I was convinced that I would become a sister (nun) although I was not catholic but protestant at the time.
Then as fate would have it, whilst attending a karate practice in her neighborhood, Robert met yet another figure that would have an impact on her journey to becoming a nun.
“I was intrigued by Father Lino Vinco; a catholic priest at St Benadette. I was attracted by his deeds of mercy. The man was the embodiment of all that I have ever admired. His care and prayer for the sick, the old and the underprivileged touched me.”
On the other hand Robert fell deeper in love with Karate and through its emphasis on discipline her passion to study for sisterhood was cemented.
However when she shared her plans and dreams with her family she was met with resistance.
“What do you mean you want to live a life of purity? My mother worriedly asked. It was a foreign concept and a worrisome one to her, especially coming from her teenager.
Her mother was adamant that she would finish high school, study, seek employment and live like “normal” people do.
But her time at St Joseph’s College, a mission school help her settle her decision to become a nun.
“I forged a strong bond with one of my teachers who was a nun. We would get in heated debates as I questioned a lot of what was strange to me and in the process I learnt a lot about this life I desired for myself. I learnt about rallies for sisters and discernment camps, which I would later attend. I truly wanted to follow teachings of a life of celibacy and dedication to others. I had no interest in pleasures of the flesh but rather a life of prayer and servitude,” she said
Her family was still not supportive of her decision so much that upon completion of her BGCSE Robert defied her mother and enrolled at Kanye Charity of Nazareth to study nunnery where she spent four years in training.
“I was happy to follow the teachings. I wanted to be an enclosed nun.” She explains that this means staying in a convent learning the scriptures and spending time meditating and being prayerful.
She however did not give up her pursuit of Karate, which she argues compliments her nature for structure and order.
Brushing off suggestions that she was missing out on being young and free she says, “I am not after material gain hence fashion and all things associated with being young and experimental don’t intrigue me.”
Does she have attraction for the opposite sex?
“Of course I have noticed boys and I have even been in relationships, which believe it or not had led to two engagements. But truth be told, I had to break them off before any sexual encounter could happen because I knew I would never be able to commit to that life. Like I had to explain to my family, my life is dedicated to a higher power.”
Although Robert underwent training to be a sister, her mother’s desires for her to enroll at varsity were eventually fulfilled, as she is currently a psychology student at the University of Botswana.
“I discovered through my interactions with other sisters and the community the value of secular education. I had initially wanted to study law, but I found out that psychology offered a solid ground to be able to help people in line with my chosen path. It compliments my training.”
The decision to pursue a degree programme has eased the tension at home, she reveals.
“But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well,” She says quoting the Bible as she ends the interview with a broad smile.
1. Her favorite artist is Doen Moen
2. She is a fencing enthusiast
3. Currently reading Sidney Sheldon
4. Enjoys chicken feet and intestines