Mission Stories – Africa
In Northern Kenya, the Catholic Church faces unique challenges. Geographic isolation, cultural differences, and limited resources make the missionary work both essential and difficult.
Near the tallest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, with its cultivated lower slopes and wildlife-rich terrain, one finds a stark and different reality in one of the communities. Living in the town and Diocese of Moshi, Tanzania, are abandoned children.
Each child’s story is different . . . some of the children have lost their parents due to illness or HIV/Aids, some of the children left their parents who neglected or abused them, some of the children were just left on their own, to fend for themselves . . . Luckily, just a few short miles away in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro . . . is the Mother House for the Holy Spirit Sisters.
There’s “Good News” in Africa, in the small nation of Swaziland – and you can be part of it at Christmas and into the New Year! Religious Sisters at St. Phillip’s Home in Manzini are making a difference for the increasing number of children who are orphans from the HIV/AIDS epidemic there. Swaziland is unique in many ways.
As the story of the Birth of Jesus tells of Mary and Joseph who, in Bethlehem for the census, could find no “room at the Inn” at the time of our Saviour’s birth – so is this story being re-written today, where children and their families in Mission lands are looking for a room to call home. One can see this in Egypt, as in the past two decades, thousands of Sudanese have left their war-torn homeland, in search of a better life for their families in Egypt; in fact, some estimates put the number of Sudanese who have fled to Egypt between 750,000 and four million.
South Sudan, is one of the world’s youngest countries, after gaining its independence from Sudan in 2011. Located in northeast Africa, this landlocked nation of 11 million people shares borders with some of the continent’s poorest countries.
“Might I interest you in my Seminary? At the moment the Seminary has more than 50 students, and providing for them is a challenge with our very limited resources. At the beginning of last year, we had to announce that we could only admit 12 new students, two from each district. Well, from one district alone, 15 presented themselves! We had to send back to their families – young men who would have made excellent priests.”
She comes to collect water – like almost half the population of Zambia who seek daily access to clean water. And she finds it here, so close also to the source of “living waters,” of all hope – Jesus Himself, present in the work and witness of priests and religious at St. Faustina’s parish in Lusaka, Zambia.
A small village in Kenya, called Thika, is part of a large
coffee plantation. Most of the adults in the village work
on the plantation, The work is hard and wages low, only
around $1.18 per day. Workers live in small tin huts on
plantation land and must pay rent to the landowner. They
own no land of their own to grow food. This desperate
situation means that most families cannot afford essential
items and often go hungry.
Our own faith journey as Missionary Disciples of Jesus is like an ongoing cycle of growth. Seeds of faith planted by our parents, nurtured by family and friends . . . and strengthened by the season of our lives.
This is the life and viewpoint of Father Herman Kituuma, who celebrates Mass, teaches classes & tends the 500 acres of land used to raise livestock and produce.
In 1889, mother and daughter — Stephanie and Jeanne Bigard — answered a desperate plea. The Bishop of Nagazaki, Japan wrote asking for help to keep his Seminary open. The Bigards came to his assistance and from this emerged the Society of St. Peter Apostle. Today, some 30,000 seminarians are helped annually.
One such seminarian is Napo, who is studying at St. John Vianney Seminary in Pretoria, South Africa.
Our Baptism into the Catholic faith teaches us that Lent is a time to sacrifice. It is a time to be a witness to our Lord by giving joyfully A time to reach out and love the poor and needy. And as, Blessed Pauline Jaricot, the Societies founder, says, “To truly help others is to bring them to God.”
John Eudes Rehabilitation Centre, founded 2001, in the Catholic Diocese of Kitui, was built to assist the increasing number of children who, due to challenging economic and social circumstances, are forced to live on the streets in Kitui and surrounding districts
Learn about what MCA is doing in Uganda including some classroom resources!
n the Turkana, one of the poorest regions in north-west Kenya, Missionaries work in this spirit of faith. You can be a part of it this!
Turkana, in the Diocese of Lodwar, is one of the driest regions in the world. This December, the children there will go “sledging” – sledding on sand using an old piece of plastic. It’s almost as good as on snow! Children also play simple games like sticks-n-stones or hide-n-seek.
Sister Rosalind, one of the Sisters of St. Joseph de Cluny, is a Missionary who provides medical care and a support program for expectant mothers and children. At this Mother and Child Center in Thies, no baby leaves without a visit to the “weighing station.” The Sisters make sure that every child receives at least one serving of yogurt or milk daily and gets weighed once a month, as over 14% of the young children in Senegal are malnourished.
Sister Ingrid Oletti keeps going. Day after day, she makes the rounds in Katatura — a city in Namibia whose name means “the place where nobody wants to go.”
In some places in sub-Saharan Africa, for instance, women and children can spend between 15 and 17 hours each week collecting water. In times of drought, it can sometimes take even longer. Adequate water supply and good health are tightly linked, and the need to carry water long distances limits the amount women can bring to their families.