~ a reflection by Thérèse Hope Merandi, MSC
I am part of “Solidarity with South Sudan”, the Unions of Superior Generals’ (both female and male) Project for the empowering and capacitatingfor peace and reconciliation in the country and from within the Church, of a broken, fragmented, conflicted, war-torn people. We are inter-congregational and intercultural communities, priests, sisters and brothers. We are at present in 5 communities throughout the country, serving and responsible for teacher training (in Yambio), health training of nurses and midwives (in Wau), agricultural and food cultivation (in Riimenzie) and Pastoral work in trainings, trauma healing, accompaniment and retreats (in Kit). The administration and Central House is in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.
I am part of the Pastoral Team Community in Kit, where my days are filled with groups and individuals seeking accompaniment, directed retreats, a chance to rest and refocus towards peace and unity within oneself and in the precarious reality that the country is passing through.
It is 10 years since South Sudan became the newest and youngest nation on earth, July 9, 2011 – July 9, 2021. In this first decade, civil war has racked the hearts and souls of the South Sudanese. 400,000 people have been killed and more than 2 million sent out into refugee status; 1,200,000 South Sudanese are refugees in the Diocese of Arua, where our Sisters (Albertina, Addise, Gloria, Joseane, Mercedes) have been and are serving in the Refugee Settlements connected with our community in Dzaipi, Adjumani) in Uganda. The reality are two sides of the same coin — the tragedy of Tribal conflict, revenge, corruption, lack of leadership and infrastructure neglect for society as a whole.
As in most African realities, the people are hopeful and happy with little, while striving to nourish, build up their families/clan and educate their children. It is a privilege and grace to be part of this struggle and yearning for “the more”, where values and “life in abundance” give significant meaning to my being a Cabrini sister, part of our Cabrinian Family who are “bearers of the love of Christ in the world”!