21 September 2011
In an undated photo from our archive: A seminarian prays in a church in Beit Jala, Palestine. (photo: Karen Lagerquist)
Today the Catholic News Service reported on the recent Palestinian bid for U.N. membership:
In a Sept. 20 interview in the suburban Washington offices of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, Patriarch Fouad Twal told Catholic News Service that “the question of full membership for Palestine does not mean the end of negotiations. On the contrary, they must continue negotiating and speaking to find a solution for everybody, peace for everybody and security for everybody.”
Patriarch Twal, a Jordanian-born Palestinian, said that, in preaching about peace, he often says that it must be “peace for all the inhabitants, otherwise nobody can enjoy peace.” He and other Christian leaders, including Pope Benedict XVI, often cite a two-state solution as the desired path to peace.
Read more on the Catholic News Service website.
20 September 2011
Tags: Palestine Seminarians Church of the East
Near Tibilisi, Georgia, Mother Ephemia plays with a dog belonging to the St. Tornike of Athos Monastery. (photo: Justyna Mielnikiewicz)
In 2007, journalist Paul Rimple visited the nuns carving out Alternative Lifestyles in Georgia:
Joining a monastery or convent is an arduous process, which discourages the casually interested or the naïve and gullible. “First a woman must agree to live by the monastery’s rules,” said Mother Ephemia, abbess of St. Tornike of Athos Monastery in Mtskheta. “She pledges obedience. Then she goes through a period of character evaluation.”
Each night, Mother Ephemia meets with members of the community in an examination of conscience that is “more of a dialogue and soul-sharing” experience, she said. The informal meeting “helps me know at what stage of development each sister is in.”
The process can take as little as five months or as long as 15 years — there is no set period. But three years is typical, Father Giorgi said.
“Generally, the better educated the woman and her family are, the easier the process is,” Mother Ephemia said. “But modesty in every aspect is absolutely necessary. There is no room for pride.”
But, as the picture shows, there is room for pets. Read more at this link.
19 September 2011
Tags: Monastery Vocations (religious)
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.
16 September 2011
Tags: Egypt Health Care Africa
A priest reflects during Holy Week at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
(photo: Paul Souders)
In the Spring 1989 issue of our magazine, when it was just a quarterly, we featured a beautiful photo essay of Holy Week in Jerusalem. The photos, by Paul Souders, accompanied text from a speech by His Eminence, D. Simon Cardinal Lourdusamy.
It is not an accident that we find ourselves “passing this way but once” — making our once-forever passage through life — now, in the age of the post Vatican Council, the age of the permissive society, the age of protest, of
painful renewal and re-thinking, in the age of Biafra and Bangladesh and Burundi.
It has not happened by chance. This was planned for us before the stars were hung in the sky.
God saw this as a time for us, the time when we could best serve, the time he was going to need our help to carry his cross.
This is our glory — that he wants us here now — nobody else.
For more of the Cardinal’s speech, check out the story On Carrying a Cross: A Reflection for Lent.
15 September 2011
Tags: Jerusalem Priests Holy Sepulchre
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.
Tags: Russia Orthodox Church Monastery