Sri Lanka

Help for the reconstruction following a civil war

The Sisters of the Apostolic Carmel have been present in Sri Lanka since 1959. Their congregation, founded in India in 1868, principally to provide young girls with an education, but also with an intention of making Christ the very centre of their lives. The congregation is now widespread throughout India (130 convents) and in Sri Lanka (37 convents).

The convent in Karaveddy, in the northern part of Sri Lanka, has existed since 1959. At the time, the Sisters took over a house that built some decades earlier by European missionaries. Among other things, they established an orphanage here.

The Sisters suffered terribly alongside the population, bearing the scars of the constant flare-ups in violence between the Tamil rebels and Sri Lankan government forces during the almost three decades of bloody civil war in the country, from 1983 to 2009. Eventually, forced to flee their convent for some years. When finally they were able, in 2009, to return, they found that the original building was completely ruined by rain and leaking water.

What was left of the building had to be demolished.  The Sisters found a temporary home in a rented house where they are still living to this day. However, they resumed their apostolic activities immediately: giving catechetical instruction, leading prayer groups, preparing children for their first Holy Communion and above all working with the poorest of the children and those still suffering from the war. All this they manage in makeshift conditions in their present temporary housing. But space is very limited.

Little by little, the people who were driven out by the war are now returning to their hometowns and villages, the number of those in need is growing as a result. Always true to their mission, the Sisters would love to be able to help still more children, above all the girls who have suffered in the war, but given their cramped conditions they cannot do so.

There is urgent need to rebuild their convent. Clearly, they cannot expect financial help from the local people who themselves are desperately poor. They have turned in confidence to ACN, writing: “We hope and pray that the Lord may inspire still more people to help us to finish this urgently needed building.”  We certainly intend to help them and have promised $27,000 for this purpose.





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