29 September 2011
An Ethiopian monk prays at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City.
(Photo: Peter Lemieux)
Ben Cramer reported on the dwindling number of pilgrims or visitors to the Holy Land in the March/April 2004 issue of the magazine. The violence in the region at the time kept pilgrims away and depressed Christians living in the region:
The crisis jeopardizes the region’s Christian communities in ways that go beyond economics. According to Christian leaders in the area, the absence of Christian pilgrims in the birthplace of their faith is having a troubling impact on local parishioners and even the hope for peace in the Middle East.
“Pilgrimage has almost totally stopped since 2000,” says Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah. “There are a few pilgrims coming here out of true conviction, but these are only small groups, primarily from Italy, France and Spain.”
Since this story ran in 2004, the number of pilgrimages to the Holy Land has increased. According to a January 2011 article from Independent Catholic News, “...the highest number of pilgrims went to Bethlehem for the Christmas celebrations since 2000. Up to 500 Christians from Gaza were also able to come to Bethlehem which was a considerable improvement...”
For more, check out Holy Land: increase in number of Christians returning home.
27 September 2011
Tags: Ethiopia Jerusalem Holy Land Africa
Santa Lucia (home for the blind in Abou Kir, Egypt) staff member Iman Bibawi Iskandar helps a resident practice writing Arabic Braille in preparation for an exam. (Photo: Holly Pickett)
In the May 2010 issue of ONE, journalist Liam Stack shared the stories of the sisters and children at the Santa Lucia Home for the Blind — which was built with funds from CNEWA donors.
Santa Lucia inspires dedication and devotion among its faculty and staff. Samira Ibrahim Matta was one of the first teachers hired by Father Tarcisio. Every afternoon, she teaches the intricacies of Arabic grammar, a language whose swooping letters they learn to write on small, clanging Braille typewriters. Between school and afternoon classes at the home, residents learn to read and write Braille in Arabic, English and French.
Proud of her role at Santa Lucia, Ms. Samira teaches her students not only reading and writing, but lessons about life. A few years ago, her own vision began to fade, and today she is blind. As hard as it has been for her to adjust to being blind, she uses her own, recent experiences as a way to teach the children to respect themselves and work hard.
“I don’t want to congratulate myself for what I do, it is just important to teach them to challenge themselves and the difficulties of their lives,” Ms. Samira explains.
Learn more about the Santa Lucia Home in Blind to Limitations by Liam Stack.
23 September 2011
Tags: Egypt Africa Franciscan Sisters of the Cross
Roman’s Girls, a Catholic initiative in Addis Ababa, assists about 20 girls with school.
(photo: Peter Lemieux)
Today marks the autumnal equinox in the northern hemisphere — the first day of fall.
For a lot of children, the return of fall means returning to school. In the countries CNEWA serves, Catholic schools are often the only institutions providing an education in regions where quality education is a luxury. Meki Catholic School in central Ethiopia is one example. In An Uphill Battle, Peter Lemieux explored some of the challenges young women in Meki, Ethiopia face in their quest to achieve a higher education:
If growing up in Ethiopia these days were a race, these children would appear to be off to a good start. But a closer look reveals an unfair contest, one that favors the boys.
While Meki Catholic School makes every effort to maintain gender balance — an equal number of boys and girls make up its primary grades — the number of girls enrolled in the school’s secondary classes drops sharply. For the girls fortunate enough to remain in school, the harsh reality of Ethiopia’s tradition of gender disparity hits harder than a stiff headwind in a 50-yard dash.
Against a metal fence enclosing the school grounds, Messeret Yohannes, an 18-year-old senior, discusses the future with her girlfriends. All expect to go to college. And all hope to become professionals either in accounting, banking, education or medicine. Given the school’s outstanding achievements, high aspirations such as theirs are certainly realistic. From among the graduating class, 94 percent are expected to attend college, compared to 30 to 35 percent nationally.
For more, check out the May 2009 issue of ONE. Also, if you are interested in learning how you can help children in Ethiopia attend school, visit our website for more information.
19 September 2011
Tags: Ethiopia Africa Women (rights/issues) Catholic education Catholic Schools
A nurse gives Noor Fahmy her daughter, Mary, shortly after delivery at St. Thérèse Hospital in Cairo, Egypt. (photo: Shawn Baldwin)
In the July 2008 edition of the magazine, journalist Liam Stack told us about a Catholic hospital in Cairo that provided care to Egypt’s needy without regard to religion:
Overall, the hospital employs 4 dentists, 3 nurses, 45 doctors and 33 nonmedical employees, most of whom live in Imbaba.
While the facility’s employees are all Christian, Father Morgan is quick to point out that the overwhelmingly majority of its patients are Muslim.
“This hospital is interested only in the health of the community, not in people’s religion,” he says. “I would say that more than 85 percent of the people who come here are Muslims, and it’s no problem.”
What patients care about most when it comes to health care, in his view, is not the doctor’s religion, but his ability. That is why people, Christian and Muslim, come from all over the country to receive treatment at St. Thérèse Hospital.
To learn more about St. Thérèse Hospital, check out the story Healing Egypt’s Needy.
12 September 2011
Tags: Egypt Health Care Africa
Two young girls at a displaced persons camp outside Dellé, Eritrea, in August of 2000. (photo: Sister Christian Molidor, R.S.M.)
Today’s featured image comes from our extensive collection of photographs by our long time friend and staff member — Sister Christian Molidor, who is retiring from CNEWA this week. The image was taken in conjunction with the story, Eritrea in War’s Aftermath in the Nov/Dec 2000 issue of the magazine. The article was a first hand account by Brother Vincent Pelletier, F.S.C., CNEWA’s Regional Director for Ethiopia and Eritrea, at the time.
We visited a camp for the displaced in the village of Delle, about 18 miles west of Barentu. With some 45,000 residents, it is one of the largest camps in Eritrea. More people are expected to enter the camp as those who fled to Sudan during active fighting continue to return. As we walked through the camp we noticed that many inhabitants had set up shop in their tents and were selling everything from soap powder to beer. Under a canvas, a makeshift school had been organized for the children. I was relieved to see that the children in the camp looked healthy. By contrast, some of the children from surrounding villages appeared malnourished. Some of these people have been in the camp for two years.
You can see more pictures at the link — and we’ll have much more from Sister Christian to share, as well. For the next few days, we’ll be posting more images from her collection for our “Picture of the Day.”
Last Thursday she sent out her final “Greetings from Sister Christian” email message, which you can view on our website as well.
2 September 2011
Tags: Children War Africa
Young students at an assembly at the Abou Kir Franciscan School in Egypt.
(photo: Sean Sprague)
In the May/June 2002 edition of CNEWA World (now known as ONE), Sean Sprague reported on the Abou Kir Franciscan School which was revitalized by the Lebanese Franciscan Sisters of the Cross.
Some 495 freshly scrubbed children in immaculate uniforms — bright red pullovers for the primary school, navy blue for the kindergarten and preparatory ages — were lined up in perfect formation. They saluted the Egyptian flag and sang the national anthem. A favorite Franciscan hymn followed. Sister Zeina then took the microphone and sweetly crooned a couple of Arabic lullabies, accompanied by a teacher on the organ. Then it was time for folklore class, and 12 girls in native Egyptian costume strutted out to perform a dance.
To learn more about the work of the Franciscan Sisters of the Cross in Egypt read Blind to Limitations, by Liam Stack, in the May 2010 issue of ONE. To learn more about the Abou Kir school read Sean Sprague’s story, Bringing Learning to Life.
18 August 2011
Tags: Egypt Africa Catholic Schools Franciscan Sisters of the Cross Northeast Africa
The faithful at Ba’ta Mariam Church, on one of the Mariam feast days. (photo: Peter Lemieux)
In November 2010 writer Peter Lemieux brought us a story called “Relevant or Relic”, about Ethiopian life and culture. In one of Peter’s unpublished interviews, a source offered some insight on how women are treated in the country:
Women take a backseat to men in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and elders in general in society. “If a woman seeks counseling in the church, she’s sent to a man. In marriage counseling, they’re more concerned about you being submissive to [your] husband. You don’t talk about personal relationships or married life. You don’t disclose that. If you do, you’re likely to be discriminated against or viewed as different, not following the line,” says Halina Atlabachew.
That wasn’t the first time Peter Lemieux and ONE had looked at gender issues in Ethiopia. For more check out our May 2009 story, An Uphill Battle. In a multimedia feature, we also heard from two Sisters of the Good Shepherd, who have worked with women extensively in Ethiopia.
17 August 2011
Tags: Ethiopia Africa Ethiopian Orthodox Church
Local youth from Derbent in Russia, spend time at the shore of the Caspian Sea. Often identified with the legendary Gates of Alexander, Derbent claims to be the oldest city in the Russian Federation. (photo: Justyna Mielnikiewicz)
Check out the November 2009 edition of ONE magazine to find out more about the remarkable history of this place in the story “Where Europe meets Asia.”
Photographer Justyna Mielnikiewicz has traveled and documented the Caucasus region extensively. Learn more about her work in the multimedia feature, A Photographer’s Perspective.