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Sisters

 

ACN Project of the week: Ukraine – Novices in training

24.07.2019 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN International, Pastoral care, Sisters, Ukraine

ACN Project of the week in Ukraine

Support for the training of 13 novices

 The Ukraine congregation of the Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matara, has been blessed with many vocations. Currently there are no fewer than 13 young novices undergoing formation in the diocese of Ivano-Frankivsk with the desire of consecrating their lives, forever, to the service of God and their human being. Most of them are young, no more than around 20 years old.

The Sisters of the congregation accompany young people, organize retreat days and provide catechetical training.  They also care for orphans, as well as for the sick and the elderly in Ukraine who often live in great need.

Religious who receive and nourish the faith

Among other things, the young novices help during the summer holiday season to organize camps for children and young people, giving them an opportunity to take a break and enjoy themselves, and at the same time to deepen their understanding and faith in God.

For these young Sisters it is also a good exercise in the work of catechesis. Last year some of them travelled with a group of 50 or so young people to attend a youth meeting in Italy. Although the bus journey was long and tiring, they were all enthusiastic and inspired. Sister Maria Christiana, the novice mistress, recalls: “I have never seen young people so filled with enthusiasm at the truth and the experience of community.”

The Sisters also organize walking pilgrimages to the shrine of Krylos in the diocese of Ivano-Frankivsk itself. During the pilgrimage, a walk of around 25 km, they pray and sing, and the are also available for personal counselling sessions, at which the young people can unburden themselves freely and put all their many questions about the Christian faith or their own personal problems. Last year some 400 young people took part.

ACN regularly supports the congregation for the formation of these young religious, and this year we are proposing to do so again, with a contribution of $11,700.


Are you inspired by this project? To give and make another similar project a success – click above and select: Project of the Week.

ACN-Projects of the week – India – Help for the formation of 15 novices Sisters

20.02.2019 in ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Asia, By Eva-Maria Kolmann, FORMATION, India, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, Sisters

India

Help for the formation of 15 novices of the Holy Spirit Sisters

 

The Holy Spirit Sisters are a congregation founded in 1950 in Germany. They work above all in pastoral care and their role is to support the priests in their work. Right from the start it was the desire of their founder that these religious sisters should be given a thorough theological formation, so that they could fulfil this mission as well as possible.

 

The sisters give catechetical instruction, prepare children, young people and adults to receive the sacraments and organize prayer meetings. They also visit the sick, poor families and the needy, and help them in their difficulties.

 

One of the pastoral work is to visit families.

In the two regional provinces of the congregation in India, namely Atmadhara and Jeevadhara, there are a total of 207 religious sisters in a region that covers seven of India’s federal states. In the state of Odisha, which until 2011 was called Orissa and which became notorious in the year 2005 on account of the violent and unprovoked attacks against Christians there, the sisters run a hostel or boarding home for 40 schoolgirls whose homes are too far from the nearest school and who would therefore be unable to attend school otherwise. The girls belong to various faiths and ethnic communities, and the sisters seek to convey genuine Christian values to them while teaching them mutual respect, so that their boarding home is at the same time making a contribution to peaceful coexistence among the various religions and ethnic communities in the country.

 

 

 

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At the present time the Holy Spirit Sisters have 15 young novices undergoing training. Aid to the Church in Need have promised the congregation $6,750 to help with the cost of their formation. Thank to help us to help them!

Are you inspired by this project? To give and make another similar project a success – click above and select: Project of the Week.

 

ACN Project of the Week – Supporting Carmelite Sisters in Bolivia

13.12.2018 in ACN International, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Bolivia, Sisters, South America

Project of the Week – Bolivia

Support of five religious Sisters in Cochabamba

 

Bolivia has long been the poorest country on the South American continent. And even though the economic situation has seen slight improvement recently, there has been little sign of benefit for large sections of the population. The same can be said for the city of Cochabamba, Bolivia’s fourth-largest city. For although it has grown to become an industrial centre, many of its inhabitants continue to live in deep poverty. And, the ongoing flight from rural areas has led to more and more people flocking to the city.

Subsistence aid for Carmelitas del Sagrado Corazón in Quillacollo, 2017.
Photo: Sister Griselda with the children of the school Nuestra Señora de Urkupiña.

The Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart have been working in a western suburb of Cochabamba at two Quillacollo parishes, since 2005. Unlike the Discalced Carmelites, their better-known sister congregation, which is an enclosed, contemplative congregation founded by Saint Teresa of Avila, the Carmelites of the Sacred Heart are an active religious community. The five Carmelites in Cochabamba have opened up an educational centre for children, young people and women, where they offer, among other things, literacy courses and basic skills courses for women with which they can earn a living to support themselves and their families.

 

The Sisters also prepare the children for their First Holy Communion, accompany the children, young people and adults on their path of faith, organize retreat days and – in an area where there are very few priests and the parishes very large – they play a vital role in spreading the Catholic faith. They also support and counsel women who are victims of domestic violence.

 

The Sisters have turned to ACN for support for their life and ministry, since by themselves they cannot make ends meet. They also have to find money for transportation, medical provisions, food and so forth, as well as for their own general basic living essentials.

We have promised these Carmelite Sisters $4,000 dollars to help them in their work.

 

Are you inspired by this project? To give and make another similar project a success – click above and select: Project of the Week.

 

 

 

ACN Feature Story: Syria, “Helping to heal the spiritual wounds of the war”

19.11.2018 in International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Jesuits, Sacred Heart Sisters, Sisters, Syria, Texte: Josue Villalón

Syria 2016 September – Sr. Samia Jerij of the Sacred Heart Sisters in the courtyard of the Jesuits in the Old Hom

Syria

 “Helping to heal the spiritual wounds of the war”

Aid to the Church in Need is supporting the pastoral work of the Sacred Heart Sisters in the Syrian city of Homs.

The church of Altip, in the Bab Al-Sebaa district, just south of the Old Quarter of Homs, is a social and pastoral training centre. “Years ago it was a Catholic school, but then the government banned all non-state schools. Since then we have used it as a catechetical centre, giving religious instruction to young people and adults, and we also hold social events and sports days here,” explains Sister Samia Syiej, the religious Sister in charge of coordinating catechetical instruction for a group of children preparing for confirmation.

 

Sister Samia points out the exact spot where the bombs fell, close to the centre of Altip. “Local families have helped us to repair two sections of the roof which were destroyed by the bombing. But in addition to everything else, what we now have to do is to help repair not only the external damage, but the damage within people’s hearts. I am a religious, and my first responsibility is to bear witness spiritually and help people. This is what moves me. We lived through the war and witnessed it close up. Catechesis is important in helping to heal the wounds.”

 

Working alongside Sister Samia are a number of young university students who divide themselves between the various different catechetical groups and actively help in this pastoral apostolate. A delegation from our international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) happened to visit while they were endeavouring to explain to the young boys and girls about the life of Jesus during his Passion and Crucifixion, a central point of the Christian faith. One of these catechists is Haya Elias. “Sister Samia taught us how to become closer to God, and now we are passing this on those who come after us.” She is studying philology at university and has always been a member of the group helping the sisters.Sister Samia is a member of the Sacred Heart Sisters, a congregation founded in Syria and inspired by Ignatian spirituality. “We have 12 houses throughout Syria. I am also involved in pastoral work with disabled children. Our congregation is very active and we pursue a range of initiatives, both pastoral and social,” she continues.

 

Sr. Samia Jerij of Sacred Heart Sisters with children – Children receiving Christmas gifts in Aleppo 2017

 

“I am very conscious that I owe my life to God and to the prayers of people like Sister Samia,” says a young man who is currently unemployed. He was in the army, compulsorily recruited to fight in the war. During an ambush he was captured by a rebel group and held prisoner for months. Everybody assumed he was dead, but miraculously he succeeded in escaping. “I thank God, and I thank the Sisters for never having given up praying for me. I am so grateful to them today and so now I am helping them as a catechist.”

The Church in Syria is very much alive, despite more than seven years of war. The priests, and the religious brothers and sisters in the country have become a fresh source of hope for the people. “We have never stopped offering our help, our prayers and our accompaniment… Everything is being done through the collaboration of the priests, religious and laity. We all work together to organize these activities and, thanks be to God, we have some very active

Sr. Samia distributing more gifts.

young people,” Sister Samia continues.

 

In addition to coordinating the religious instruction, Sister Samia also works in a home for mentally handicapped children. “We have always carried out projects with the help of ACN, even during the bloodiest moments of the war. Children and adults alike often need a word of hope, and want to grow stronger in their faith. The children come to the church, and they can also be very demanding. During the summer, for example, we held a number of youth camps, which gave fresh hope to many people. This is what motivates us.”

 

Over the course of 2018, and thanks to the generous help of our many benefactors throughout the world, ACN has been able to support more than 35 pastoral courses and programs for young people and children in various different parts of Syria, for a total cost of $255,000.

A special project in Cameroon – Conversion in Prison

04.10.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Feature, ACN Interview, ACN PROJECTS, Africa, Africa, Cameroon, CONSTRUCTION, Sisters

CAMEROON – CONVERSION IN PRISON

ACN renovates the chapel in Bafoussam prison

Sister Orencya, a Pallottine Sister, gives her service for the Church in Cameroon. She has been a missionary in the prison environment. For nearly a decade, she has been visiting prisoners twice a week at Bafoussam Central Prison. This prison is composed of a women’s ward, an adult men’s ward and a youth ward. Altogether, there are about 1,000 prisoners.

The Christian community, under the patronage of Marcel Callo, (deported by the German gestapo to the concentration camps because he was Christian)  has held a presence in the prison for 20 years now. A chaplain facilitates and is supported by volunteers from the Justice and Peace Association, novices from Xavierins Fathers, Sister Orencya and catechist detainees. In addition to attentive listening to the prisoners and providing material help (medicines, clothing, food), times of prayer, catechesis and mass are all organized for the imprisoned.

Sister Anna Kot from the Pallontine Sisters in Cameroon sent the photos together with the following lines: “Hello, A few days ago, we sent you the letters of thanks and request for grant 2018. Now we send some pictures of our apostolate in Cameroon. I do it as secretary in the name of the superior delegate, Sr. Véronique Sakowska. With the best regards and expressions of respect.”

 

ACN financed the rehabilitation of the chapel in 2017. Several inmates wrote letters of thanks. Here are some excerpts:

 

You have turned our chapel into paradise”

“Many of the faithful have converted and many who did not come to church are now the first to arrive in the chapel on the Lord’s Day. You have, through your actions, attracted souls who have made a firm resolve to change and to be baptized.”

“As God never abandons His children when they cry for help, He has sent an angel among us: Sister Orencya, to listen to our cries and transmit them to you. Thank you for everything you do for us inmates. Many prisoners have converted because of our improved life in the prison environment. Many follow catechesis classes and are part of prayer groups in our Marcel Callo community. By receiving much support from you, we have understood that we are not abandoned despite our faults and that the Lord is always with us. Thanks to God and thanks to you, I consider myself happy to live my detention in the peace, joy and love of Christ.”

“God allowed me to enter this prison to know him. Outside, I lived in debauchery. In this prison, I am a path of conversion and radical change of my mentalities. All this thanks to God and through you through the manifestation of His goodness in my life”.

In his letter of thanks, the chaplain explains the choice of the patron saint: Marcel Callo.

“Marcel Callo was deported by the German gestapo to the concentration camps in Germany. His motive: his detractors said that he was a Christian. He will die there at the age of 23.  During his detention, he devoted his time to serving his brothers. Today, following Christ, through daily prayers, Eucharistic celebrations by the priests of the Sacred Heart and catechesis, the Marcel Callo community continues the work of evangelization within the prison. This environment makes everyone happy. »

 

ACN has promised to continue supporting the prison ministry in Cameroon and has just approved a $13,590 project for pastoral care of prisoners in the main prisons of Kumbo and Nkambe in the Anglophone area of the country.

ACN Project of the Week – support for Sisters in Ukraine

29.08.2018 in ACN International, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Catholic Religious Sisters, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Redemptorists, Sisters, SUBSISTENCE, Ukraine, Ukraine

Ukraine

Support for the life and ministry of four Redemptorists Sisters in Lviv

 

In the 1930s a dozen or more Ukrainian girls travelled to Belgium to prepare for the foundation of the first Redemptorists convent in their home country of Ukraine. However, it was not until 80 years later that this dream was finally fulfilled. The outbreak of the Second World War, and the subsequent Soviet tyranny made their return impossible, and believers faced decades of persecution by the communists. It was not until 2016 that three Redemptorists sisters finally succeeded in establishing the first ever Redemptorists convent in Ukraine.

 

The Sisters had to start from zero, initially establishing their convent temporarily in a family home. They worked hard and long to cultivate the wilderness that had grown up around the house. Soon after, another professed Sister would join them, but remains in Poland for now and another a young candidate is also in the picture. Meanwhile, the convent has been granted formal permission to admit young women who wish to consecrate their lives to God, and there are already a few interested. But they will have to wait for some time, because the house is only able to accommodate eight people.

A number of ordinary Catholic faithful come to pray with the sisters at regular prayer times and other liturgical celebrations. Many come seeking the prayers and counsel of the sisters and a sympathetic ear to listen to their problems.

The sisters are grateful for their vocation and overjoyed that the long awaited foundation in Ukraine has finally become a reality. Nevertheless, despite their frugal lifestyle, it is very difficult for them, as enclosed religious, to support themselves in Ukraine, especially against the background of sharply rising prices.

 

We have promised them $3,000 for the support of their life and apostolate.

 

Are you in inspired by this projects supporting seminarians? If you would like to help create more projects such as this, simply click to donate.

 

Project of the Week: Help for the consecrated people in Siberia

22.08.2018 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, By Eva-Maria Kolmann, Religious men, Russia, Sisters

 
Russia /Siberia

Support for the life and ministry of 63 religious sisters in the diocese of Saint Joseph

 

The diocese of Saint Joseph in Irkutsk, in eastern Siberia, is geographically speaking the largest diocese in the world. With an area of almost 10 million km² it is actually larger than the United States! Scattered thinly across this vast region are 50,000 Catholics, ministered to by around 40 Catholic priests. In addition, there are 63 religious sisters of various different congregations.

 

Their work in the parishes is absolutely indispensable, and they are also involved in all kinds of charitable and social work that is a veritable blessing, above all for so many children from broken homes and for the lonely, the elderly, the sick and the homeless, including many street children.

We would like to share with you two examples of their work with the people in their diocese. In the city of Irkutsk for example, in the parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, two sisters of the congregation of the Servants of the Holy Spirit work with children from difficult family backgrounds, including children living in poverty, from large families, or with parents who are alcoholics. They have opened a house they call The House of Hope. The children come here every day to do their schoolwork, to eat and to play.

The sisters organize a range of different activities.  They help them with their schooling and strive to create a real family atmosphere so the children can experience something they have never known in their own families. The same two sisters also regularly visit the children at the tuberculosis clinic organizing a range of activities as well as for the children in hospital, suffering from cancer.

In Abakan, the sisters have made space in their convent for homeless women with children and currently have two mothers and three children staying with them. They also visit the sick and elderly.

We are helping all 63 religious sisters from the various different congregations in their work in the diocese of Irkutsk with a small contribution for their financial support. Overall, our help rings up to a total of $47,565 – or $755 per sister for an entire year. Would you be willing to help us?

 

Are you in inspired by this projects supporting seminarians? If you would like to help create more projects such as this, simply click to donate.

ACN Project of the Week : Success Story in the Philippines

19.07.2018 in ACN Canada, ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Philippines, Project of the Week, Sisters

A Success Story in the Philippines

A vehicle for pastoral work among the indigenous peoples of the diocese of San Jose

 

For the past seven years, Sister Anita has been working among the indigenous peoples of the diocese of San Jose, supporting them with wise counsel and ministering to their needs. She looks after the children in the primary schools, making sure they have enough to eat, helping them with their studies and teaching them the Catholic faith. She helps and advises the women and organizes all kinds of different activities for the young people. “It is a joy and a blessing for me,” she says, speaking of her work.

 

She has to travel to visit the people in the villages where they live, and the distances in this mountainous region are considerable, making this journey a real problem. The only transport available which comes just twice a week called a “Jeepney” (a public minibus) travels through the various villages and back into the city, but it is impossibly overcrowded at all times.

 

People cram in, with their sacks of rice and cement and bulky cardboard boxes, and some passengers even have to sit on the roof. The journeys seem to take forever because at every stop there are things to be off-loaded and then un-loaded onto the minibus, as some passengers get off and new ones get on. If you miss one Jeepney, you have to wait three days for the next one.

 

This was making Sister Anita’s work extremely difficult to undertake, and so she turned to ACN for help.

 

Thanks to the generosity of our kind benefactors, we have been able to provide her with $37,750 for the purchase of a sturdy vehicle that can cope with the untarred roads and the rough and often muddy tracks.

 

Sister Anita is overjoyed and writes, “Your help is a blessing and a great support for our apostolate among the native peoples. Many thanks! We are so happy! And now we are all the more eager and determined to go out to the faithful and serve the Church.”

 

 

You would like to give to a similar project? Simply click on donate and select ‘Project of the Week’.

 

ACN Project of the Week: A little warmth for Lebanese Sisters

21.12.2017 in ACN International, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Lebanon, Middle East, Pastoral care, Poverty, Project of the Week, Sisters, Urgent need

Lebanon

A heating system for a convent housing sick and elderly sisters

 

A convent in Jeita is home for some 20 or so elderly religious Sisters, some of whom are frail and or ill. It has been designated, by the congregation of the Salvatorian Sisters of Saint Basil of Our Lady of the Annunciation, as a sheltered accommodation for nuns who require special assistance.

 

Lying as it does in a quiet valley, the convent is also ideal as a guesthouse for groups and individuals wishing to spend a few days in a quiet retreat in their personal search for God. “We do not want to make a financial profit in any way, but simply to offer a service to Our Lord and to the Church by taking in these faithful,” explains Sister Mona Wazen the general superior of this Melkite Greek Catholic congregation.

 

The convent was established in 1992, following an attack on the motherhouse of the congregation during the Civil War (1975 to 1990) which at that time, the Sisters were forced to flee. Before the Civil War, in fact, they had no fewer than 17 convents in Lebanon. But the war cost them dearly and now today they have only three convents and a total of around 70 Sisters. Between them, five schools and a number of other educational centers are managed.

 

As already mentioned, there are 20 elderly and infirm Sisters living in the convent in Jeita today. However, there is no heating in the house and in winter it can get extremely cold. This is not only hard to endure for these already frail sisters but also scarcely inviting for any guests who may wish to stay. The congregation has decided to install a central heating system. However, the cost is too high for them alone and so they have turned to ACN for help.

 

We are planning to contribute $35,040, so that these frail and elderly Sisters and their guests will not have to suffer the additional burden of facing the freezing cold in their very home.

 

If you would like to contribute to supporting a similar project funded by ACN, please click to donate!


 

ACN Project of the Week – Support for Contemplative Carmelite Sisters

17.11.2017 in ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Aid to the Church in Need Canada, By Eva-Maria Kolmann, Journey with ACN, Sisters

Czech Republic

Support for contemplative Carmelite Sisters in Prague

The pilgrims in Fatima who arrived early on  September 13 at the Chapel of the Apparitions were greeted with a somewhat unusual sight – a statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague being carried in the arms of a religious sister in front of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

This image of the Christ Child, dressed as King in festive white robes, was later that day to enjoy a great triumph when, at the end of the Solemn Holy Mass on the square of the Fatima shrine, it was solemnly presented by Cardinal Dominik Duka, the Archbishop of Prague, to Bishop  António Augusto dos Santos Marto of Leiria-Fatima, in whose diocese the famous Fatima shrine is of course situated.

 

This pilgrimage to Fatima by Czech Catholics to mark the hundredth anniversary of the apparitions there was in fact the second national pilgrimage to Fatima organised by the Catholic Church in the Czech Republic, and on this occasion 1,300 pilgrims, including the entire Czech bishops‘ conference, dozens of priests and religious and hundreds of ordinary Catholic faithful, had made their way to the renowned Marian shrine in Portugal, whose story is so closely linked to the recent history of the former Eastern Bloc. Cardinal Duka recalled the fact that the people of the Czech Republic had previously come on pilgrimage to Fatima in 1989 to give thanks for their regained freedom. This time they were here to give thanks “for a new generation that has never known the prison of National Socialism, the prison of communism or persecution for their faith.”

 

As an “expression of gratitude”, the Cardinal solemnly presented to the bishop the replica statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague, solemnly blessed at the shrine in Prague, as a special gift from the Catholics of the Czech Republic to the shrine in Fatima. “The Infant Jesus is the patron of all his friends,” said the Cardinal, recalling that Pope Benedict XVI had also visited the world-famous shrine of the Infant Jesus during his visit to Prague.

 

New Carmelites!

In fact the fate of the Jezulatko, as the little statue of the Infant Jesus is known to the Czech people, has been closely bound up with the message of Fatima during the past century. For it was in 1917 – exactly 100 years ago – that Our Blessed Lady predicted the October Revolution in Russia and the Second World War. The consequence was an unprecedented persecution of the Church. After the Second World War, what was then still Czechoslovakia also fell under the communist yoke and witnessed one of the worst persecutions in Eastern Europe. Thousands of priests and religious were arrested and sentenced to long prison terms and forced labour, churches and religious houses were closed down and desecrated, and the practice of the Faith severely restricted. For years, the image of the Infant Jesus of Prague was left abandoned and alone on its altar in a desolate and ransacked church.

 

“It is thanks to to the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary that we are able to live in freedom today,” Cardinal Duka declared in front of thousands of pilgrims in Fatima. Afterwards, the Czech pilgrims were allowed to take home with them a pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima, and immediately on their return this statue was welcomed with a solemn Holy Mass in Prague‘s St Vitus Cathedral and then carried in solemn procession through the streets of Prague and also right past the convent of the Discalced Carmelite Sisters.

These Carmelite sisters, who live in strict enclosure, never leave their convent, yet their prayer spans the whole world. The fact that young Carmelite sisters are once again living in this convent is one of the most beautiful fruits of the Triumph of Mary‘s Immaculate Heart. For in 1950 the Carmelites were forcibly ejected from their convent and forced to work in factories. Only five very elderly Carmelite nuns survived long enough to witness the political changes in 1989; all of them have since died. Yet by the grace of God, and doubtless also through the courageous witness of their lives and of their faith, new vocations followed and a number of young women have joined the Carmelite community. The six nuns who today live in the Saint Joseph‘s convent devote themselves entirely to prayer, bringing before God among other things the cares and needs of those people who sometimes do not even know how to pray for themselves.

 

Among other things, the sisters produce religious and devotional items and artwork, which they sell in a small shop. Other than this, they have little opportunity of providing for their own income – which is why ACN is helping them again this year, with a contribution of $6 132  to support their life and prayer apostolate.