Exclusively non-natives, there are 4,000 or so Catholic Christians among the population of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, a country in northwest Africa which is otherwise almost 100% Muslim. Serving this small congregation in the country’s only diocese is a bishop, priests and religious Sisters who come from 20 different countries of Europe, Asia and Africa.
Aid for Religious
Youth apostolate is a major priority of the Archdiocese of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. The challenges facing young people in Ethiopia are immense: many face a future of poverty and unemployment and can only dream of fleeing the countryside for the capital, or even leaving the country altogether for Europe.
The “Bethlehem Mission” (Missao Belem) is a lay spiritual community of people who devote themselves to caring for the homeless, drug addicts, the lonely and all those facing a crisis or some difficult situation.
At age 88, Sister Halina has surely earned the right to more rest after a long life of daily service on behalf of the poor, but she continues to work, tirelessly visiting the sick and sewing quilts and pillowcases for newborn babies. And her equally elderly fellow Sisters also continue their service – listening to and counseling those who come to them for advice, helping children with their homework and comforting the sick and needy. Some of them even continue to instruct and give talks.
The Poor Clare Sisters in Brestovsko in Bosnia and Herzegovina are young, with an average age of 41. Only one of them is over 60, and the two youngest are just 24 and 26. The convent was founded in 1989, immediately after the collapse of communism in the country, at a time when the old Yugoslavia still existed. Four religious Sisters came from Split, now part of Croatia, to establish a new convent in what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina.