27 MAR, 2013. Uainín Clarke SSL of the Sisters of St Louis Central Leadership Team recently spent a week in Ethiopia and witnessed the progress made in the establishment of a new SSL mission in the Adigrat province. Even though she spent a relatively short time there, she marvelled at how her heart was touched by so many significant encounters she had and how the whole experience continues to nourish her.
Uainín did not find it easy to go to a place where she knew no one, spoke not one word of the language and yet had serious SSL work to do! However, there was no need to have worried as the welcome, hospitality and care from all those whom she and Ruth (the architect designing the new SSL convent) met, were both heart warming and challenging. “People really put themselves out” said Uainín. “It was as if they realised our absolute dependence, and took care of our every need. In the course of the week we stayed with three different religious communities - all of whom opened their homes to us.”
“Despite being a tiny portion of the population the strength of the Catholic Church network was palpable. Those of the Catholic community really seem to keep an eye out for one another while also being very open to those who are members of other churches. This is one of many areas where Abune (Bishop) Tesfaselassie Medhin gives quiet, yet strong, leadership. He seems to have the ability to keep in touch with so many aspects of life in Adigrat, both church and secular. I was impressed by how much he, his priests, religious communities and lay people are actively involved in development work and are working in an integrated way to improve the quality of life of the local people, who are living in extremely poor and difficult circumstances” Uainín continued.
“Despite the delay in the arrival of SSL to Dawhan, the enthusiasm of these local people for this event has not waned. While we were there, the SSL convent building was marked out. That was indeed a very exciting and satisfying moment. The contractor, Hayish, is confident that the building will be completed in 8-9 months. We certainly hope so. Let us continue to pray and do all in our power towards making our SSL mission in Ethiopia a reality.”