Monday Starter: African sisters honored for their contribution to the development of the continent


Sr. Jane Wakahiu greets Pope Francis in July 2018. (Courtesy Conrad N. Hilton Foundation)

Editor’s note: Global Sisters Report’s Monday Starter is a weekly feature from GSR staff writers that summarizes news from or about nuns that you might otherwise have missed.

A number of African women were recognized at the Pan-African Catholic Congress on Theology, Society and Pastoral Life for their contribution to the development of the continent. Among the laureates was Sr. Jane Wakahiu, a member of the Little Sisters of Saint Francis.

Wakahiu was honored “for being a pioneering nun” as the first African woman to serve as associate vice president of program operations and head of the Catholic Sisters Initiative at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, which is the lead funder of Global Sisters Report fonds. Wakahiu, originally from Kenya, is also the former executive director of the African Sisters Education Collaborative.

In his acceptance speechWakahiu acknowledged the efforts and service of other women, adding, “The sisters are the embodiment of a vital church in Africa.”

“I accept this award in honor of so many Catholic sisters around the world who are doing remarkable transformative work in underserved and marginalized communities,” she said. “These women are doing their job in silence, making a difference one life at a time, in very difficult circumstances.”

The biannual four-day congress, which ended on July 22 and was held at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, focused on the achievements of African women and aimed to show solidarity “in building a better society where African women will always flourish”. .” The theme of the meeting was “Let us walk together for a vital Church in Africa and in the world”.

Sr. Rosemary Nyirumbe shows one of the

Sr. Rosemary Nyirumbe displays one of the “pop-top bags” made by students and graduates of St. Monica Girls Vocational School in Gulu, Uganda in September 2017. (GSR Photo/Melanie Lidman)

Other sisters and religious organizations were recognized alongside Wakahiu throughout the conference, including Augustine Sr. Angélique Namaika of the Diocese of Dungu-Doruma in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who was recognized for her “courageous spirit and faith-filled ministry to the most vulnerable”.

Sacred Heart of Jesus Sr. Rosemary Nyirumbe from Uganda was recognized for her work with people traumatized by violence, war and forced displacement. From Senegal, Sr Anne Béatrice Faye – a member of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of Castres – has been recognized for her academic achievements and for representing Africa in her work with the Vatican.

Finally, the Association of Consecrated Women of East and Central Africa was honored for empowering women religious and building a strong network of Catholic sisters as a sisterhood leadership conference in the region.

Loretto community honors Irish Ambassador for his work at the UN

The Community of Loreto honored Irish Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason for her work and commitment to women, girls, peace and disarmament by awarding her the Sadako Prize.

Nason has been Ireland’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations since 2017 and is stepping down to become an Irish ambassador in the USA. His duties at the United Nations included chairmanship of the Commission on the Status of Women in 2018 and 2019 and representing Ireland on the UN Security Council since 2021.

“She’s also been a wonderful champion of educating adolescent girls,” Loretto’s UN representative Beth Blissman said in an Aug. 11 announcement of the award, which was presented to Nason at a rally. Zoom on August 12.

Geraldine Byrne Nason, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations, in September 2021 (UN photo)

Geraldine Byrne Nason, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations, in September 2021 (UN photo)

The periodic price is called Sadako Sasaki, who survived the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945, but died aged 12 in 1955 from radiation sickness. She is best remembered for making hundreds of origami cranes as a symbol of peace.

Nason, who was educated by Presentation Sisters in Ireland, told the Zoom meeting that working with sisters and other congregational representatives has been a highlight of her time at the United Nations.

“I owe you all a debt of gratitude,” she said.

The diplomat said that the work for peace is difficult and cannot be done without “women at the table”.

Citing the work of women involved in peacemaking in Northern Ireland, Nason said the ongoing crises in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Ukraine and Yemen cannot be resolved without the participation of women.

“The inclusion of women,” she said, “leads to more lasting peace.”

Maryknoll’s sister says honoring Pax Christi is a call for peace

A Maryknoll sister named one of the 20 new ambassadors of peace by Pax Christi United States says the honor is not just about her job, but is a recognition of the importance of peace as a way of life.

Maryknoll Sr. Jean Fallon in March 2018 (GSR file photo)

Maryknoll Sr. Jean Fallon in March 2018 (GSR file photo)

“We were told this was not a reward but a commission to do whatever we could to bring peace to our warring world,” Sr. Jean Fallon said in a statement released by her congregation Aug. 11. if everyone started focusing on world peace. It’s more than pacifism, it’s a spirituality and a way of life. Instead of resolving our disagreements through violence and war, we must use our creativity to build new ways of building and sustaining peace.”

The National Council of Pax Christi USA announcement the appointment of new peace ambassadors in June, and the new ambassadors were appointed in Washington, DC, as part of a conference from August 5 to 7 marking the organization’s 50th anniversary.

Ambassadors were selected to be “extraordinary and experienced leaders within the Pax Christi USA community who serve as living embodiments within the movement and beyond of what it means to live a life rooted in the ‘peace of Christ’ “, said the congregation in its announcement, adding that they are honored “for the contributions they have made to the preaching, teaching and practice of evangelical nonviolence, peacemaking, anti-racism, reconciliation and justice”.

fall on has a long history of peace activism, which began 43 years ago when she was a missionary in Japan and met survivors of the American bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This led her to lead justice and peace ministry programs in Tokyo, as well as seminars in parishes in the United States.

She also served with the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns and continues to participate in rallies for peace and justice. Fallon has also worked with Community Peacemaker Teamsformerly Christian Peacemaker Teams, an interfaith organization dedicated to promoting peace and non-violence in various parts of the world.

Participants from August 11 to 13

Participants of the August 11-13 “Seminar for Sisters” at the Rajshahi Pastoral Center pose for a photo on August 12. (Sumon Corraya)

‘Seminar for Sisters’ discusses religious life in Bangladesh

A total of 32 Catholic nuns attended a three-day “Seminar for Sisters” in Rajshahi, Bangladesh, to focus on their common journey in consecrated life.

The Clergy and Religion Commission of the Diocese of Rajshahi organized the seminar from August 11-13, led by Sr. Nirmola Gomes, a member of the Sisters of Charity of Sts. Bartolomea Capitanio and Vincenza Gerosa, and Bishop Gervas Rozario.

Prof. Michael Corraya, secretary of the Commission on Clergy and Religions, told GSR that the seminar was aimed at helping the sisters overcome challenges.

“Community life sometimes has conflicts, problems, and we want to remove these challenges. Through collaboration and open-mindedness, they can overcome them,” said Corraya, a parish priest at Nobai Bottola in Rajshahi. .

Gomes, who is a house superior of the Nobai Bottola convent, told the seminar that although community life is sweet, it can sometimes be bitter if nuns have bad relationships with each other.

“If nuns have the mentality of accepting themselves, being patient and listening to others, all relationship issues will be resolved,” Gomes said at the seminar.

Participants told GSR that the seminar helped them understand each other so they could collaborate in community life, make their religious life more joyful and meaningful, and increase their religious vocations.

“In community life, I shouldn’t see the mistakes of others, but rather how I can change myself and accept others and myself. I learned that this is how I can stay well in community life. said Sr. Teresa Marandy, a member of the Catechist Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of Angels, who attended the seminar.

She also said that to increase religious vocations, congregations should do more family visitation.

“Nowadays, young girls are not very interested in entering religious life. Therefore, we nuns should get in touch with girls and visit their families,” said Marandy, a tribal nun. Sandalwood from the parish of Andharkota. “If we can create a healthy relationship and inspire them, we could increase our religious vocations. We were taught this during the seminar.”

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