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Volume 45, Number 2
9 March 2012
Erin Edwards

A sister treats a patient at the Mother of Mercy Clinic in Zerqa, Jordan. (photo: Nader Daoud)

Today is day two of our “Celebrating Women” campaign. In honor of the courageous women in our region, today’s picture comes from the Mother of Mercy Clinic in Zerqa, Jordan. This clinic is run and staffed by the Iraqi Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena. Last year 3,600 children received immunizations from the clinic. In December, Msgr. Kozar blogged about his visit to the clinic and the great work and beautiful spirit of the sisters who run this clinic:

We left Amman for densely crowded Zerqa, where we had an appointment to visit the Mother of Mercy Clinic. Perhaps the word “clinic” is a misnomer; this facility teems with activity and offers a multitude of services to a huge number of poor, almost all of whom are Muslim.

I have to tell you, the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, who run the clinic, are dynamos and command tremendous respect by the hundreds who come each day. Though the facilities are old, humble and crowded, the service provided is exceptional. On a typical day, the dispensary or emergency room might see between 100-140 patients. Additionally, there may be hundred mothers with their infants lined up for vaccinations. There are only two full-time doctors on staff, but they are complimented very well by a trained group of nurses, technicians, midwives, assistants and other helpers who make the delivery of services something to behold. I think our huge mega-hospitals in North America could learn a thing or two with the efficient management style seen here.

But most of all, there is a loving spirit demonstrated by the four sisters who work here and the dedicated staff that collaborates with them. Ra’ed mentioned that most of the staff have been employed at Mother of Mercy for many years, and while they could make greater sums elsewhere, they have made a commitment to stay and serve the poor.

Mother of Mercy is located right beside a huge Palestinian refugee camp, which houses about 80,000 inhabitants. You can imagine the volume of traffic to the clinic on some days, which lies within a compound that includes a parish church, dedicated to St. Pius X, and the parish school.

Another indicator of how beloved the sisters are is the fact that in every instance, save one, all the Muslim women with their children and infants felt very comfortable in allowing me to photograph them. Being cautious, I let one of the sisters accompanying me to ask their permission to take their photograph. I must tell you, the faces of both mother and child were prize-winning smiles, thanks to the sisters.

To learn more about the Mother of Mercy Clinic and the work of the Dominican Sisters, read Mothering Mercies from the May 2009 issue of ONE. To learn how you can help support the work of sisters like the Dominican Sisters, join our Causes page or give on our website.

Tags: Middle East Jordan Health Care Dominican Sisters

8 March 2012
Erin Edwards

Sister Bincy Joseph assists girls with their homework at Mother Mary Home for Girls in Kerala. (photo: Sean Sprague)

Today through 31 March, CNEWA celebrates women. Throughout the month we will share stories about the women who are vital to the work of CNEWA. You can find items here on the blog, through our Facebook page, Twitter, and our newly-minted Causes page. On the Causes page, you can stop by to give toward our $20K matching campaign, share a story, or just show your support and spread the word.

Today’s story comes from the March 2008 edition of ONE. In A Place to Call Home, Sean Sprague reported on the work of a group of sisters at an orphanage for girls in Kerala:

Sister Jean Mary emphasized that Kerala, while largely rural, is densely populated, as much as three times the rest of India. And up to a third of the state’s population live below the poverty level.

Most of the parents of the girls at Mother Mary Home work as day laborers at local quarries, brick factories or large rubber estates. Wages are abysmally low, the work, seasonal and hunger, common. Parents often find it necessary, Sister Jean Mary said, to send their children out to work to supplement their meager incomes. The parents of these girls are so socially and economically marginalized that they never bothered to obtain birth certificates for their children.

As its stated mission, the orphanage offers the children the chance to lead a “fulfilling and self-reliant life in close relation with other people.” To this end, the sisters do their best to create a homey atmosphere, prepare healthy meals, nurture the girls’ spiritual growth and faith in God and encourage them in their academic work so they may find gainful employment as adults.

The girls attend local Catholic elementary schools, which are within walking distance from the orphanage. Classes for kindergartners and students through fourth grade are held at a school half a mile away. Junior high school classes are conducted at a Catholic school two miles away.

For more, read A Place to Call Home. Don't forget to join us on Causes and follow along with our updates throughout the month!

Tags: India Sisters Orphans/Orphanages

8 March 2012
Sister Christian Molidor, R.S.M.

In this photo taken in 2000, a Filippini Sister plays with kindergarten students St. Lucy School in Adigrat, Ethiopia.
(photo: Sister Christian Molidor, R.S.M.)

Today, CNEWA begins a month-long campaign devoted to “Celebrating Women.” Longtime CNEWA colleague and friend, Sister Christian Molidor, reflects on the importance of the work of religious sisters in the region CNEWA serves, and appeals for your help in supporting the challenging work of these women whom she calls “the survival kits for humanity.”

Beware: Whenever you receive a message from a nun you don’t know, she’s going to ask for money. I’m no exception.

I’ve been a Sister of Mercy for 52 years, and for half of that I’ve served CNEWA until my retirement last September. A few of you will remember my nagging emails, many of which described the work of sisters in the countries where CNEWA serves. I asked for your prayers, and assured you of mine. But today, I ask for your help.

Years ago, I met an elderly gentleman at one of our schools in India. I asked him why he had enrolled all of his children in a Catholic school. He was a devout Muslim. He said, “I send all my children to Catholic schools. I send my family to Catholic hospitals. ... It’s just your church that I never attend.”

At the time, that hurt me. But the sadness of his judgment summarizes why I am convinced religious women, along with their dedicated coworkers, best represent the church! The sisters serve the people, regardless of their religion, race, gender, nationality, caste, tribe, designer dress or rags — everyone. They educate and care for ALL the people of God. What profound creativity: They love their neighbors!

Wait a minute, have we heard that somewhere else?

These women with whom I have had the privilege of living and working in the lands where CNEWA works were and remain role models for me, and I am proud to write on their behalf. St. Vincent de Paul’s words express how I know religious women are able to serve so many in so many different ways. They begin by loving their people:

“It is only when they feel your love that the poor will forgive you for the gift of bread.” Giving is the easy part. These women are the survival kits for humanity.


A little more about our “Celebrating Women” initiative:

In March, we celebrate women and their gifts to the world. What better way to celebrate than by showing your love for religious sisters who serve the church in some of the poorest places on earth?

This month, several generous benefactors of CNEWA are pledging $20,000 for the work of sisters if others can be found to make matching gifts. At stake is $40,000 for sisters. That money and all the good it can accomplish for the poor is within reach. But only with your help.

From now until 31 March, your gift for the work of sisters will be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to $20,000.

What does this opportunity mean for you? Every $1 you give today is worth $2 for sisters. Your $15 gift is actually worth $30. Your gift of $50 actually means $100 for sisters. You can double your gift instantly — and double the power of your love for sisters and for the poor whom they serve — if you take advantage of this matching gift challenge before the deadline of March 31st.

Please click on the link above and be as generous as you can.

Tags: CNEWA Sisters Women (rights/issues)

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