A little over a week ago, friends and family looked proudly on as Pulane Makepe was ordained into the church as a servicing member (sister).
For Makepe it was the realisation of a long-held dream and had the unmistakable feel of someone fulfilling their destiny.
The recently ordained sister has a long affinity with religion, as she readily explains, “I was 15 when I first became interested in religious life. However, back then I was quite ignorant and naïve about who can be religious and lead a righteous life. I wrongly believed that I had to have gone to Catholic schools all my life, as well as other imagined requirements, in order to even consider such a thing. So I just assumed, because of my background, I was not suitable. But the Lord is patient, kind and merciful.”
Dedicating her life to God, although it came naturally, was not a decision Makepe made without serious consideration and painstaking research, as she highlights, “I realised I had more than a passing interest in religious matters and needed to see if following the path of sisterhood was for me. I sought out the people who had chosen this same way of life and started asking questions. After four years of discernment, I was able to profess my own personal ‘yes’ to him just over a week ago.”
Makepe radiates happiness, her customary smile fixed firmly upon her shining face as she recalls her momentous journey, saying, “First, let’s clarify – the contemporary use of the word vocation is often associated with a motivation to do something with your life, become a career professional and go on to work in specific fields because that’s what we’re interested in or we seem to have a talent or gift in.
“For some it is discerning who God calls them to be in their time. Someone who has taken the journey of faith, has had that personal conviction or encounter to seek in order to find, to believe, to reflect on God’s presence/love in their life and then choosing to respond to that love in a gift of themselves, not just their talent, skills, strength, mind, heart but their very self. That’s what I’m talking about!”
Realising she possessed this deep-rooted desire, Makepe revealed the daunting moment she broke the news to her family, saying, “I told my parents first. It was a two-hour conversation that involved a lot of convincing. My mum was beaming and my dad kept asking about my MBA. After they realised I was serious, they gave me their blessings. My friends took the news in their stride whilst my siblings were a bit hesitant at first but have since been supportive and happy for me.”
Makepe grew up as an imaginative child who loved to be around people.
However, it was times spent alone that had the youngster fantasizing about a career in the arts, as she explains, “I wanted to be an artist – whether a painter, writer, musician or actress.”
At seventeen she chose marketing and pursued a career in that field after tertiary.
“It indulged my love for people. I love meeting and interacting with people from all walks of life, different faiths, different languages – of which I could never speak fluently! But I loved being around all these people, whether we were talking at 3am, having soup in Melville after a night out, studying all night for a law paper or pitching a six million pula media campaign over six months to an advertising client – something about that time was incredibly sacred.”
Makepe admits that her life has completely changed since then but remains fulfilling nonetheless.
“Initially, when I first joined my congregation of sisters, I thought I would not be able to use any of the skills I had acquired up until then. Needless to say, I was wrong. The skills we possess are put to good use and I am aware of sisters and other religious organisations that work tirelessly to bring about positive change in various communities. There is much work towards lobbying governments to review and change laws that prejudice marginalised communities. There is work towards the safeguarding of children, provision of high quality education to children from under-privileged communities and offering help where it is needed. There are many people that offer the gifts and talents they have been blessed with in life to God’s people in their own place in their own time.
“I have known men and women of the cloth that have had a great influence and contributed to the development of our nation. They taught and guided many and some went on to be leaders of note in society.”
Though Makepe no longer thrives in the fast-paced advertising realm, she gets to do work she is proud of.
It is a rewarding life, providing a peace-of mind and fulfillment that the glamorous world of advertising could never provide.
Her day begins and ends with prayer, then mass before attending to work in various apostolates.
A typical day entails volunteering at Kamogelo, a day care and pre-school project belonging to the diocese for orphaned and vulnerable children in Tsolamosese.
“I also attend various workshops run by the Diocese for pastoral ministries like catechism. I’m still getting used to my new life as a professed sister, so I assist in parish life where I am based. Together with fellow sisters, we work with the poor and the marginalized. It’s a joy to use my skills knowing it’s for the good of others no matter how small or big the contribution. We share our knowledge, our faith, and our time and in the evenings we gather in community and pray together.”
Giving advice to other young people, Makepe stresses the importance of self-reflection.
“Learn to understand who you are then be the best version of yourself that you can be. No decision is ever easy and one may be conflicted by career choices. DO NOT PANIC. Your goals at are not your final destination and yes, life will change your plans. You may find yourself reflecting back and realising that it was all part of an even better plan. Most importantly, we are all made unique and curiously wonderful! I’m happy and I like to think it shows,” she concluded, with a glowing, genuine smile – a visual reflection of her words.