Rebuilding the Burnt-out House of Missionary Sisters in Uganda
The missionary Sisters of Our Lady Queen of the Apostles, who devote themselves principally to the care of women and children living in slums, have been present since 2009 in Jinja in the southeast of Uganda. Here they run a mobile clinic where they treat the poor and needy who could not otherwise afford medicines or medical care. The cost of these medicines is prohibitively high, since almost all of them have to be imported into Uganda.The Sisters treat more than 1000 patients every month in their mobile clinic.
Among those the Sisters treat are many malnourished children, since many local families can only afford one meager meal a day. The maize gruel that represents the principal diet of the people in this region is so nutritionally poor that the children in particular display many severe signs of deficiency diseases, which in some cases can adversely affect their brain development. The Sisters try to help the mothers by providing them with supplementary food for the children and by teaching them how to achieve a balanced diet. They have also set up a kindergarten and take in and care for
handicapped children and young girls who have been forced to give up their schooling.
Two years after they had begun their work in Jinja, the Sisters suffered a heavy blow. At 6:30 a.m, they had just gathered in the chapel for morning prayers with the children in their care, when a care
assistant called out, "There's smoke, fire!" The Sisters only just had time to get themselves and the children, some of whom are physically handicapped, to safety. Within moments the whole house was in flames, blazing before the horrified Sisters and the weeping children. It was only thanks to
the quick response of the fire services that the fire, which had been caused by an electrical fault, did not spread to the second building. The priests and the neighbors who came running to help did
everything they could to comfort and support the Sisters and the children. Sister Maria Goretti Quadros, the general superior of the congregation, wrote to ACN shortly after the fire. "I am so grateful to these good people for having helped our Sisters to face this catastrophe with courage and for supporting them with food and taking them into their homes. I will be forever grateful to the Lord for having saved our Sisters, the handicapped children and the girls living in the house, with His sheltering presence," she wrote.
She continued, "This event has made us even more determined to fulfill our mission, which is a great challenge for us. Nothing will destroy in us our dreams for the poor and suffering people in this part of the world.We firmly believe that with faith in God, and in His great sympathy and providence, and with the help of good and generous people, we will overcome this tragedy."
On June 6, 2012, not even a year after the catastrophe, it was possible for a new house to be opened and blessed, thanks in large measure to the contribution of $19,100 from you, our generous benefactors. For your generosity in helping them to rebuild their house so quickly, the Sisters now send a heartfelt "Thank you!"