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Travelogue: Out of Africa

Posted by Administrator (admin) on Mar 08 2016
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Sister Lorita Kristufek recently returned from a month-long mission trip to Barberton, South Africa. Our sisters at St. John Mission there care for and educate children with HIV who have been displaced from their families. She was inspired by her work there and offered the following reflections on her trip:

Our Sisters Anece, Frantiska, Seena and Limpcy live at Our Lady of the Angels Convent on the property at St. John Care Center in Barberton, South Africa, with 33 children ages 2 through 18 who have HIV. All but eight children go out to two different schools in nearby Barberton and one public primary school on our mission property. The Diocese of Witbank owns the mission properties, and Bishop Joseph Sandri, MCCJ is always in close contact with Sister Anece, who is presently the “Guardian of the Mission.”

My main ministry from January 4 through February 6 was teaching eight special education children ages 2 through 12 who cannot go out to local schools due to their special educational, physical, emotional and mental needs. I was delighted to teach music, language and speech lessons, and large and small motor skills while taking several pretend-safari trips with the children in my “playroom classroom,” as the new Learning Skills Center is still being developed and put into working order.

The children all have an innate gift of rhythm, and they sing and dance with a joyful spirit despite the many side effects they experience from the various medications that they take. Some of the children have no family, and others have a few family members who cannot or do not choose to keep them at home to care for them due to poverty or other issues.

We are located in the Mpumalanga Province and are a part of the Diocese of Witbank. Vocations are few, and our diocesan priest, who has several parishes in Barberton, is from Kenya. Statistics from the Census International Database show that the population in Africa in 2013 was near 400,000,000, with a Catholic population of approximately 206,224,000. The projected Catholic population in 2050 is 430,557,412.

I have literally seen and experienced mercy in action, and I praise and thank our good and merciful God, who has gifted His children with our good and dedicated missionary sisters and volunteers throughout the years who have and continue to “help build up the Kingdom of God” with mercy, care, compassion and a sincere dedication to educating “the poorest of the poor!” Mercy is alive and truly in action as our Franciscan values of peace and all good continue to be spread and shared throughout the world.

Sister Virginia Rose Carroll also just returned from a month-long trip to Barberton. Look for her thoughts very soon.

Last changed: Apr 12 2016 at 2:51 PM

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