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September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
8 March 2012
Sister Christian Molidor, R.S.M.

In this photo taken in 2000, a Filippini Sister plays with kindergarten students St. Lucy School in Adigrat, Ethiopia.
(photo: Sister Christian Molidor, R.S.M.)

Today, CNEWA begins a month-long campaign devoted to “Celebrating Women.” Longtime CNEWA colleague and friend, Sister Christian Molidor, reflects on the importance of the work of religious sisters in the region CNEWA serves, and appeals for your help in supporting the challenging work of these women whom she calls “the survival kits for humanity.”

Beware: Whenever you receive a message from a nun you don’t know, she’s going to ask for money. I’m no exception.

I’ve been a Sister of Mercy for 52 years, and for half of that I’ve served CNEWA until my retirement last September. A few of you will remember my nagging emails, many of which described the work of sisters in the countries where CNEWA serves. I asked for your prayers, and assured you of mine. But today, I ask for your help.

Years ago, I met an elderly gentleman at one of our schools in India. I asked him why he had enrolled all of his children in a Catholic school. He was a devout Muslim. He said, “I send all my children to Catholic schools. I send my family to Catholic hospitals. ... It’s just your church that I never attend.”

At the time, that hurt me. But the sadness of his judgment summarizes why I am convinced religious women, along with their dedicated coworkers, best represent the church! The sisters serve the people, regardless of their religion, race, gender, nationality, caste, tribe, designer dress or rags — everyone. They educate and care for ALL the people of God. What profound creativity: They love their neighbors!

Wait a minute, have we heard that somewhere else?

These women with whom I have had the privilege of living and working in the lands where CNEWA works were and remain role models for me, and I am proud to write on their behalf. St. Vincent de Paul’s words express how I know religious women are able to serve so many in so many different ways. They begin by loving their people:

“It is only when they feel your love that the poor will forgive you for the gift of bread.” Giving is the easy part. These women are the survival kits for humanity.


A little more about our “Celebrating Women” initiative:

In March, we celebrate women and their gifts to the world. What better way to celebrate than by showing your love for religious sisters who serve the church in some of the poorest places on earth?

This month, several generous benefactors of CNEWA are pledging $20,000 for the work of sisters if others can be found to make matching gifts. At stake is $40,000 for sisters. That money and all the good it can accomplish for the poor is within reach. But only with your help.

From now until 31 March, your gift for the work of sisters will be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to $20,000.

What does this opportunity mean for you? Every $1 you give today is worth $2 for sisters. Your $15 gift is actually worth $30. Your gift of $50 actually means $100 for sisters. You can double your gift instantly — and double the power of your love for sisters and for the poor whom they serve — if you take advantage of this matching gift challenge before the deadline of March 31st.

Please click on the link above and be as generous as you can.

Tags: CNEWA Sisters Women (rights/issues)

14 September 2011
Sister Christian Molidor, R.S.M.

Msgr. Robert Stern greets an elderly woman on a trip to Kerala, India in 1991.
(photo: Sister Christian Molidor, R.S.M.)

Today marks Msgr. Robert Stern’s last day as president of CNEWA, after almost a quarter of a century leading the agency. We asked another CNEWA veteran, and longtime colleague, Sister Christian Molidor, to share a few thoughts.

I’ve been asked to write a brief profile of Msgr. Stern... but how can it be brief?

Three days after I was hired by CNEWA, I was sent to India. When the cardinal appointed Msgr. Stern to CNEWA, he was told to begin immediately to reorganize, renew and revitalize the agency. Was this favoritism by the Holy Spirit?! I asked myself: Who is this Jewish-Irish fellow from Harlem’s parishes?

Oh, just a physicist educated at Amherst (and honored as an archimandrite before I even knew how to spell the word), an experienced traveler and linguist (the ability to speak several languages is an asset, but the ability to keep your mouth shut in one language is priceless), a skilled diplomat (he will accept “probably,” but never “perhaps”), a wise manager (he never thinks of CNEWA more than 19 hours a day), a creative and generous mentor (“I always listen carefully to everything you say, Christian, then don't do it,”)... Okay, so he’s a genius, but you’ll have to admit his puns are terrible.

“Sterno” and I have been colleagues for years too numerous to mention (my old age erases numbers) and in truth, we’ve been friends for twice that long. (Are we really that old?)

But the highest, the most significant compliment I offer is that Bob Stern is a good priest.

And that’s why gratitude is my heart’s memory!

Tags: CNEWA Msgr. Stern