The life of a priest in Pakistan is by no means an easy mission. Most of the Catholic priests in the country have to minister to vast areas, and the threat of Islamic extremism is ever-present. Christians are victims of violence and false accusations of blasphemy, and even in their ordinary everyday lives, they face constant hostility and discrimination.
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Mali is a landlocked country in West Africa with an overwhelmingly Muslim population. Christians, Muslims and followers of traditional African religions there lived together peaceably, as they had for centuries, until 2012, when war broke out in the northern part of the country, much of which lies within the Sahara Desert region.
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.
Wonderfully, the Greek Catholic Order of Saint Basil in Ukraine is not short of vocations. Currently there are 48 novices in formation at the seminary in Lviv. In all, the Basilian Order has some 340 members in 29 different monasteries. Their novice house is in Kharkhiv, in East Ukraine, and has its own land and livestock around it.
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.