15 September 2011
In the April 2011 CNEWA Connections e-newsletter, we chose to focus on some “never before seen” photographs by Sister Christian Molidor. It turned out that every picture told a story, and Sister Christian shared some anecdotes behind the images in an engaging slideshow. It offers a window into the world that we serve. You can view the slideshow and read more in A Christian Behind the Camera, within the newsletter.
A young girl at a refugee camp in Jordan. This photo is an outtake from the story, A Delayed Homecoming, featured in the Nov/Dec 2001 issue of the magazine.
(photo: Sister Christian Molidor, R.S.M.)
For more “never before seen” photographs by Sister Christian — like the one above from Jordan — check out the April 2011 CNEWA Connections e-newsletter.
14 September 2011
Tags: Children Jordan Refugee Camps Palestinian Refugees
Sister Lutgarda with Abel and Helen at Kidane Mehret Children’s Home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (photo: Sister Christian Molidor, R.S.M.)
During her time with CNEWA, Sister Christian Molidor often provided personal and informative stories for our magazine. In the story Every Child Has a Name, she wrote of her experience visiting the Kidane Mehret Children’s Home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — a child-care facility enrolled in CNEWA’s Needy Child Sponsorship Program.
If Kidane Mehret did not exist, chances are many of the children would have been aborted or died from exposure. The Franciscan Sisters receive what the government considers “reject children.”
My first visit to Kidane Mehret was to gain an overview of the orphanage and its children. Besides caring for 90 children, the sisters also provide meals twice a week for more than 150 displaced persons from the surrounding area, mostly women and children. Many of the displaced women reciprocate, working in the kitchen, preparing food and serving.
How do the children come to Kidane Mehret? They are often illegitimate. In Ethiopia, the shame of bearing an illegitimate child remains strong. Many children are just left at the gate of the orphanage. Sister Lutgarda told me about a small, very ill boy who was thrown over the fence into the garden. When the gardener went to work the next morning, his first thought was to scold the children for throwing their clothes in the garden. Then the tiny boy started to cry. He was taken into the orphanage. After much difficulty, Sister Lutgarda received government certification for the boy — without such certification, he cannot be adopted.
For more about the Kidane Mehret Children’s Home in Ethiopia check out the September/October 2001 issue of the magazine.
13 September 2011
Tags: Ethiopia Sisters Africa Orphans/Orphanages
An elderly woman makes her way through Jerusalem. (photo: Sister Christian Molidor, R.S.M.)
Sister Christian Molidor has a knack for capturing quiet, unguarded moments in her pictures — like the one above, from 1993. We asked her what she remembered about this shot, and she wrote back:
“How about that? I can’t always remember my car’s license plate, but I know most every photo I’ve ever taken.
This was an elderly woman, not a nun, taken in Jerusalem. I spoke with her as she was on her way to shop near Damascus Gate.”
If you would like to read or share Sr. Christian’s final email message, it is available on our website.
12 September 2011
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.
9 September 2011
Tags: Children War Africa
Medical Sisters of St. Joseph fill buckets for the evening wash at their house of formation in Kothamangalam, Kerala, India. (photo: Sister Christian Molidor, R.S.M.)
Our beloved Sister Christian Molidor will be retiring from the agency in a few days. With that we’ll also be retiring her biweekly email message, “Greetings from Sister Christian.” In her most recent message, she leaves us with some inspiring words of wisdom:
Manifest your loyalty in word and deed, keep a promise, find the time; forgo a grudge, forgive an enemy; listen, try to understand, examine your demands on others and think first of someone else.
Appreciate. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little, then laugh a little more, deserve confidence, fight malice and decry complacency.
Express your gratitude, go to church, welcome a stranger; brighten the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth.
Speak your love; speak it again. Speak it still once again.
Among her many gifts, Sister Christian is also a talented photojournalist. During her nearly 30-year tenure with us, she captured thousands of images from CNEWA’s world (like the one above). She was eager to share her gift with others and we’d like to share it with you. We will feature a Sister Christian photo from our archive in the ‘Picture of the Day’ post for the next few days.
Read more of Sister Christian’s heartfelt words in her final email message.
8 September 2011
Tags: India Sisters Kerala Vocations (religious)
Trinity Monastery now functions as the primary theologate of the Russian Orthodox Church. (photo: Sean Sprague)
In the September/October 2001 issue of CNEWA World, Sean Sprague reported on Trinity Monastery — believed to be the first religious house named after the Trinity in Russia — and the powerful influence of St. Sergius on generations of religious seeking spiritual guidance at Trinity.
Today, Trinity Monastery is once again a beacon of faith to the Russian people. Pilgrims seeking their cultural roots and religious identity flock to the newly renamed town of Sergei Posad (two hours north of Moscow by commuter train) that surrounds the monastery’s fortified walls. Now free of Communist restraints, Trinity Monastery welcomes the faithful. They come to revere their beloved saint, whose remains lie within the monastery walls, to pray and to reestablish their Christian faith, wounded but not destroyed by 70 years of Communist rule.
For more about this Russian spiritual house and St. Sergius read, A Saga of a Saint.
Meanwhile, Russians — like many Americans — are gearing up for a presidential election next year. And one of the Russian candidates has a resume that is Orthodox — but decidedly unorthodox:
While the Putin-Medvedev tandem remains silent on who will be the main candidate for president in 2012, in the last days first official challengers in the race to the Kremlin have emerged. The one creating the most buzz is the director and temporarily suspended Orthodox priest, Ioann Okhlobystin, whose become the protagonist of discussions on forums, blogs and social networks in Cyrillic. Today artistic director of Euroset, Okhlobystin announced his candidacy on Sept. 5 as an independent.
Learn more about this unusual candidate.
7 September 2011
Tags: Russia Orthodox Church Monastery
Saint Mary’s Port Church in Kollom, Kerala, India, one of the eight founded by St. Thomas, features a mural of Christ and St. Thomas. (photo: Sean Sprague)
Journalist Sean Sprague explored St. Thomas’s influence on southern India's Christians in the March 2010 story, In the Footsteps of St. Thomas.
Culled from the communities he founded, Thomas ordained priests and deacons to minister to their spiritual and temporal needs. Eventually, the heirs of St. Thomas became dependent on the Church of the East — an Eastern Syriac church founded by Thomas and centered in the Persian Empire. The catholicos-patriarch of the Church of the East regularly sent bishops to southern India to ordain priests and deacons and regulate ecclesial life.
Check out more of Sean Sprague’s photos from St. Thomas’s path in the image gallery from the same story, St Thomas’s Influence.
Over the weekend two dozen Indian bishops visited the Vatican and had “heart-to-heart” talks with Pope Benedict XVI regarding, the religious nature of Indian people, discrimination against Catholics, interreligious dialogue and evangelization, as reported by the Catholic News Service today:
“The Holy Father was particularly interested in our efforts at interreligious dialogue,” [Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai] said. While there have been acts of intimidation and violence against Christians in India, the church is building bridges with members of other religions and “collaborating together to build peace, to build a better India, to see how we could bring God back into society.”
Read the rest of this story in the “News” section of our web site.
6 September 2011
Tags: India Pope Benedict XVI Interreligious Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
Father Pejic is the only full-time staff member at St. Sava’s Serbian Orthodox Church located in Hanover, Germany. (photo: Andy Spyra)
In the July 2009 issue of ONE Joachim Dethlefs reported on the diversity within the parish of St. Sava’s Serbian Orthodox Church in Germany’s Orthodox Serbs.
Following tradition, Father Pejic celebrates the Divine Liturgy in Church Slavonic, but pauses at several points to repeat select passages first in Serbian, then German. Readings from the Gospel, on the other hand, are chanted in Serbian and then read aloud in German.
For more about this community of Orthodox Christians, read the story, Germany’s Orthodox Serbs.
Meanwhile, just today the Catholic News Service reported on Pope Benedict XVI’s message to Catholic and Orthodox scholars at a meeting in Salonika, Greece, Aug. 30-Sept. 2.
In many countries, Catholics and Orthodox face the same challenges in strengthening Christian life, and an important part of that effort is working together with love and respect, Pope Benedict XVI said.
Read more of this story in our “News” section.
2 September 2011
Tags: Orthodox Church Serbian Orthodox Church
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.
1 September 2011
Tags: Egypt Africa Catholic Schools Franciscan Sisters of the Cross Northeast Africa
Children pray during liturgy in the small village of Santhithadam, Kerala, India.
(photo: Sean Sprague)
Santhithadam means “Valley of Peace” in Malayalam, the language of Kerala.
Not far from the border with Tamil Nadu and set on the high Attapaddy plateau, the area was thinly populated by scattered tribes for centuries. Then, about 30 years ago, 76 families settled in Santhithadam from the crowded south, including 40 Syro-Malabar Catholic families from Kottayam, Kerala’s Christian heartland.
Journalist Sean Sprague reported about this small village in Kerala back in 2003 in the July-August edition of ONE (which was then known as CNEWA WORLD).
Today the Catholic News Service reported on a parish in Kerala offering financial incentives to large Catholic families, in the midst of worries over the shrinking Catholic population:
The plan to increase family size runs counter to a previous initiative by the federal government, which encouraged residents to make two children the norm for families.
Read more of this story on the CatholicNews.com
Tags: India Children Syro-Malabar Catholic Church