One African Christian's Story of Empowering Women and Fighting Systemic Poverty
Monique Misenga Ngoie Mukuna
Growing up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Monique Misenga Ngoie Mukuna persevered through many challenges: political turmoil and violence, misogyny and patriarchy, lack of community resources and personal loss. As she carved out a life for herself, her family, and her community, she kept seeing the same story played out for women vulnerable and trapped in poverty. Every system was stacked against them. So "Maman" Monique committed to take action in every sphere she could: through education, the local and national church, and international cooperation. In 1999 she joined with other Christian women to start the nonprofit Femme, Berceau de l'Abondance—Woman, Cradle of Abundance. The very personal story of Maman Monique opens a unique window on the lives of women in Congo, across Africa, and throughout the Majority World. In Cradling Abundance she recounts her remarkable experiences as a gifted student and teacher, successful businesswoman, local and denominational church leader, visionary social activist, and matriarch for her extended family. With stories of other African women woven in, this narrative presents a panoramic view of Christian women at work at every level of the church and community. We see the resistance they face even within their own congregations and families, as well as how their faith leads them to oppose injustice, discrimination, and suffering. Professor Elsie McKee introduces the autobiography of her friend Maman Monique (translating it from conversations in French and Tshiluba), then provides helpful historical background and textual notes throughout, along with a study guide to additional cultural information. For anyone interested in how lay women lead in Christian ministries, what it takes to start a pioneering nonprofit, or how empowering women is critical to the health of communities, Cradling Abundance is a unique and gripping resource.