JOURNEY WITH ACN is our Friday our weekly newsletter regularly posted to our blog and designed to acquaint you with the needs of the Catholic Church around the world – and various projects we have helped to bring into being together with ACN benefactors.
This week : Cameroon
Help for the training of 11 novices of the Sisters of Saint Anne
The Congregation of Saint Anne was founded in 1834 in the Italian city of Turin. Today the Sisters of Saint Anne work not only in a number of European countries, but also in India, the Philippines, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, the United States and Cameroon, in central West Africa.
The sisters have been working in Cameron for 27 years now, and the congregation currently has 74 native African sisters in this country. They have nine convents in Cameron, in four different dioceses. But more and more bishops are asking if the Sisters of Saint Anne could settle in their dioceses as well. In fact, two more houses are already planned for the near future.
The sisters’ work is above all with children and young people, with single mothers and young girls who have broken off their schooling and who “bear only sadness in their hearts and are helpless in the face of the dangers of the world, which seeks to deceive them with false values”, as the sisters themselves put it in their letter to us. In addition to this work, they have also established a “Divine Mercy Centre” where they help people who have fallen victim to the occult and witchcraft – practices that are widespread in many parts of Africa. It is likewise a place of refuge and help for women who have been traumatised by abortion or whose families have been broken up. The sisters also care for young offenders, and in the remote villages, where there are no medical facilities, they look after people suffering from malaria and other tropical diseases, as well as the victims of HIV/ AIDS.
The congregation is rich in vocations. The formation house of the sisters is in the diocese of Bamenda, in Northwest Province. At present there are 11 novices undergoing training there. And there are also other young girls who would like to enter the community and devote their lives to the service of God and the needy.
It is not easy for the community to raise the necessary means to provide these young sisters with a solid formation. Yet this is an urgent necessity, if these young women are to remain firm in their vocation and also be equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to fulfil the many different duties they will have to tackle. In order to earn a little income, the sisters engage in small-scale agricultural activities, and at the same time they make rosaries and Christmas cards. But the income they receive from this is nowhere near enough to cover their costs. And so they have turned to ACN for help for the training of their 11 novices. We have promised them $5,660.