Serving Across Continents
Presently almost 200 Sisters serve in Africa and Brazil. Some of our older Sisters in these countries are experiencing special medical needs for the first time since the beginning of these young provinces. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.) there is no structure for health insurance; in Rwanda, insurance doesn’t cover the more serious health problems. Consequently we have begun a health fund to cover the medical care of our aging Sisters in these countries.
SSMN communities in Africa are almost exclusively under the direction of our African Sisters now. The Sisters assume the responsibilities of schools and health centers, as well as parish and diocesan pastoral work with creative energy and enthusiasm! Ministries such as these demand good educational background, and so we have about 20 young Sisters in Africa and Brazil presently doing university level studies. This is an enormous expense. The fruitfulness of the ministry of the Sisters, as well as the future of the Church in Africa, depends a great deal on the quality of the professional and religious formation of the Sisters.
SSMN hard at work at the General Assembly 2017
Simplicity.....Joy....Total Gift - three words of our Charism as SSMNs. It is 198 years since our foundation in Namur. God is blessed forever by the work of our sisters in 10 countries: Belgium, USA in New York and Texas, Canada, Great Britain, Congo, Rwanda, Brazil, Cameroon, Dominican Republic, and Tanzania. In simplicity and joy, we proclaim Jesus Christ who called us.
Congo and Rwanda
Today our Congolese Sisters work in four dioceses, comprising 10 communities. Though most Sisters work full-time, salaries – when existent – are minimal and insufficient to completely support the needs of the Province. The Sisters have been trying to create ways to become financially self-sustaining with efforts such as raising cows and pigs, sewing, grinding cassava and corn, etc. At the same time they remain engaged in the schools, orphanages, health, and nutritional and social centers that serve the people.
One example is the small village of Mangai, Congo – about 500 miles from the capital, Kinshasa. Since the year 2000, our Sisters have been able to build eight classrooms to replace the old school that was literally falling down. Thanks to the generosity of several donors, they have been able to do this as well as supply medications for a health center.
In April of 2014, our Sisters in Rwanda and throughout the congregation and world commemorated the 20th anniversary of the genocide there. The country has made much progress in rebuilding and recovering from the ravages of that violence. Our Sisters continue to work for reconciliation, including doing pastoral work with prisoners.
Tanzania and Brazil
Sisters in Rwanda came to Tanzania in 2007, to a suburb south of Dar es Salaam. Since then, the Sisters have been able to begin a school for the children of the vicinity, each year adding one grade. With the help of donations, they have been able to build several classrooms and are now trying to collect funds to be able to furnish these rooms.
Our Sisters in Brazil have most recently been working with many religious and human rights organizations to combat human trafficking, especially during the time of the World Cup. They continue to care for the sick, for children at high risk, and for young people and women.
You Can Help International Ministry
You can understand that we need you very much for the functioning of these many works in our communities of Africa and Brazil. Please visit our donation page if you are able to help our Sisters out and the people they serve.
May you one day have the joy of meeting some of our Sisters from these countries, who inspire us with their faithful and tenacious commitment amidst such challenging circumstances!