Evadne Ann Kortje

Born 1975, 45 years). BA (Bachelor of Arts) degree and LLB (Bachelor of Law) from the University of Stellenbosch. 2000 Public Prosecutor at the George Magistrate’s office, 2007 State Advocate in Cape Town. Her place in the Movement of Schoenstatt is the Women’s League in Cape Town.

What experiences have shaped you as a woman?

My upbringing by my devout catholic parents. Their unwavering service to the universal church and the community inspired me. Growing up, my parents often left us during weekday evenings, when they attended church meetings, the Legion of Mary gatherings and catechism classes. This experience inevitably shaped me as a vocational catechist and parish pastoral council member. It is within the church community that I live out my faith and teach what I treasure most in the world, my faith. I was just twelve years old at the death of my eldest brother, Alphonsus. This experience created within my soul the longing and hope of the eternal life. At that stage, I responded when people conveyed their condolences to me that they need not worry I will see my beloved brother in heaven one day. It was from there that I began my life of hope and the fuel for all my action, to one day be able to share eternal life with our Heavenly Father. When I left for University, I really became more rooted in my faith. I was alone, Stellenbosch was a foreign town and the people I met did not always share my beliefs. It was there that the only familiar experiences I had was the Sunday liturgical celebration of Holy Mass. The knowledge that my parents were experiencing the same food for the soul, 450 kilometres away was such a comfort. It was there that the seal of the Holy Spirit that I received at my Confirmation really manifested. After my studies, I returned to George where I was unemployed with two university degrees for an entire year. During the last three months of the year, I worked as a casual at the newly opened McDonalds in George. As educated as what I was, I worked as a service person on front counter and drive thru. I gained an opportunity to practise my persuasive skills. It was during this period that I learned humility. I also developed a sense of equality with others irrespective of their education or background. When I started to work, as a public prosecutor at the George Magistrate’s Court, I had the privilege to stay with my parents once more. Attending Sunday Mass together was as essential as breathing. My father would be the only reader at Mass. This moved me to join him. It became routine. He would read the first reading and I the second one. It was there that I became a proclaimer of the word of God, a ministry that I am still involved with today. My move to Cape Town deepened my faith and dependence on Our Lady’s unfailing intercession. These are just a couple of my experiences, which has formed me as a woman of faith, hope and love.

Where in your life have you experienced God?

I have already referred to the death of my brother. Although this experience was dramatic, it was only through God’s mercy that this experience strengthened my faith. The manner in which we as family has to accept his death, re-established God’s omnipotence. In court, during a sentence of an uncle who sexually molested his niece over an extended period, I experienced the mercy of God. After the judge delivered the sentence, the uncle wanted to speak to his niece, the victim. She was still a minor, her aunt and I were present. The uncle at that stage asked the forgiveness from his niece, which she in turn accepted. Thereafter the niece started to cry, in fact she sobbed. It was such an emotional experience that I also shed tears. I felt it. It was God’s mercy at work; the child forgave her uncle for the grievous crime that he had committed. On the 17 April 2020, I received a promotion after thirteen years. Promotion has not been possible in our governmental organisation due to lack of funds. I know that God has been gracious and merciful in this promotion. The unfailing support and prayers of my Women’s League group, the Schoenstatt sisters at Villa Maria and Constantia, have manifested God presence in my profession, which is my vocation.

What do you see as the challenge for women today?

Acceptance for who you are as an individual. I am so often criticised for my religion, marital status, my hometown, even my home language that is Afrikaans. I often fall in the same trap when I comment or advise other women to suit my own beliefs. Even when I advise the youth, I must always be so careful not to violate their individual humanness.

What do you want to change through your life in this world?

I want to live an authentic life, which God had intended for me, Evadne. As a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a catechist, a proclaimer of the word of God, a legal professional, I want to eradicate injustice and unfairness within my family, the church and society in its entirety. In order to achieve this, I must open my soul to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I remember I once shared with Sr. Joanne my dissatisfaction with a not guilty verdict of a prosecution, which I conducted.  Sr. Joanne listened and carefully implored me to remain faithful in my vocation as a warrior for justice. Therefore, I want continue with my prayers (for others) and acts of kindness even just by words of encouragement to promote through my life justice, fairness and equality to all of creation. To live a live which reflect my Covenant of Love with Our Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt.