These Sisters visit families in the villages, care for the sick and elderly, pray with the people, and manage to introduce a little light and laughter into their poverty-stricken homes. Will you help support them?
For Father Werenfried van Straaten, the founder of the international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), suffering and need were never an abstract problem. For him, it was always about the individual, a person with a face and a name, a child of God. It is easy to feel no personal involvement with a statistic, and a mere number means little to us. But the fate of an individual person with a face and a name is not so easy to distance ourselves from, for it touches us inwardly and is a direct appeal to us personally.
On his many travels around the world, Father Werenfried encountered so many people living in poverty and destitution, people in whom he saw God Himself as weeping. They had names – Anna, Pablo and John, Maria and Miguel. He had looked them in the eyes, and what he had seen was for him a cry for help.
Father Werenfried asked himself – and all of us – the question: “How is it that we are so comfortably situated? These people live beneath the same sun and the same stars as we do. God also created them on the sixth day, to be kings of creation. Where, then, is their kingdom? This trampling of their human dignity is a mortal sin against nature, a crying injustice. And we, too, will personally share in this injustice if we do not do everything in our power to banish it from the world – everything in our power!”
Not too many people know that there are regions in Argentina where people live in the direst poverty. One such region is a diocese with the long name of “San Roque de Presidencia Roque Sáenz Peña.” It is one of the poorest dioceses in the country, and this seemingly dry statistic is, in reality, a human crisis for those involved. Some of these people live in dirty, damp, unhealthy hovels, or even under plastic sheeting. There are sick people barely being cared for, emaciated children whom you would more readily expect to see in Africa, living off little more than a little flour moistened in water, gaunt-looking mothers…
The diocese covers a vast area of over 27,000 square miles in the north of the country, characterized mainly by savanna and dry forest land. It is home to the descendants of various indigenous tribes who, in the past, used to live as nomads. Many still live as hunter gatherers. Now, the large Agro industries, which are encroaching ever further on their traditional territories, are increasingly restricting their traditional lifestyle, using up the forest and establishing vast soya bean plantations. At the same time, the goats and cattle of settlers and small farmers are eating the forest bare.
The Catholic Church is virtually the only organization supporting these people, but the distances are huge, and there are only very few priests. This makes the support of religious Sisters absolutely vital. At present, there are 38 religious Sisters from various different congregations working in the diocese. They support the people in many ways and bring home to them the fact that they are also children of God. They visit the families in the villages, care for the sick and elderly, pray with the people and, while bringing them this urgent and vital help, they at the same time manage to introduce a little light and laughter into their poverty stricken homes.
We regularly help these Sisters, and this year, once again, we plan to support them in their modest lifestyle, for all the work that they do is offered entirely free of charge. We have promised a total of $19,500 to support their life and ministry – just $500 per Sister for an entire year.
Will you give to support these religious Sisters as they serve the poorest of the poor in Argentina?
We are sure they will remember you in their grateful prayers.
Aid to the Church in Need commits to invest your funds where they will have the greatest impact for the Church that we serve. Funds donated to Aid to the Church in Need’s projects will be used towards the greatest need in our programs to help keep the Faith alive.