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“Sister Damakech is a very responsible person and has a very mature and capable mentality. Sister Frehiwot guides very well and works with a keen method and a social grace that is needed for the families she is in touch with.”

So far, Sister Manna’s appraisals have borne fruit. Under Sister Damakech’s leadership, St. Anne’s Secondary School has risen up the academic tables in the district to become a top-performing school. For her part, Sister Frehiwot has increased attendance and her kindergarten has seen a steady increase in the number of students registering each year. This year, numbers at the school grew by 15 percent.

For the Daughters of St. Anne, though, these advances are not flukes, but part of a longer-term plan to foster an institutional presence that will outlive them all. In that future, new sisters will rise up to take the reins and steer the Daughters’ vital work in Ethiopia through its second half-century.

“The young are important because they are the future of the community,” Sister Manna says. “It is through them that God's grace will continue to touch the people here.”

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A regular contributor to ONE, Don Duncan has covered the Middle East and Africa for The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The New York Times and Agence France Presse.

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