“Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”
Support for 27 Religious Sisters in Mauritania
Mauritania is one of the poorest countries in the world, with 90% of this arid, northwest African country lying within the Sahara desert region. In 1960, when the country gained its independence, roughly 85% of its population were nomadic herders, but with the desert steadily expanding since the beginning of the 1970s, many have subsequently lost their livestock. The result is that more and more people are migrating from the rural areas into the slums on the sprawling peripheries of the towns and cities. Meanwhile, many areas on the Atlantic coast are being impacted by rising sea levels, which are now making many areas of the coastal cities uninhabitable.
Mauritania‘s population of 4.8 million is almost 100% Muslim, and the mere 4,000 or so Catholic Christians are virtually all foreigners. The bishop himself, his priests and religious Sisters of the one and only diocese in the country collectively come from more than 20 different European, Asian and African countries.
The 27 religious Sisters in the diocese have their hands full, working in the city slum and in remote and undeveloped rural regions. They minister to expectant mothers, invalids, migrants, prisoners and the handicapped; they work in schools and other educational establishments and teach women – who are not allowed to attend school – practical skills such as knitting and sewing, and also basic literacy. They also care for the many malnourished children in this society.
Despite the increasing pressure from a growing Islamist movement in the country, the work of the Church is admired and greatly appreciated by many ordinary Muslims. A Mauritanian friend of the country‘s Bishop Martin Happe, though a Muslim himself, has many happy childhood memories of the religious Sisters. He recalls how he and his playmates used to invent all kinds of imaginary hurts and illnesses, just so that they could knock on the door of Saint Joseph‘s convent and ask the Sisters for help. “In addition to getting a plaster, we always used to get a glass of lemonade as well,” he explains. To this day, he still remembers the names of all the Sisters in the convent.
The Mauritanian government also expresses regard for the Catholic Church for its charitable work, but there is no financial support forthcoming. That is why we regularly support these 27 religious Sisters, and this year we are committing to making a contribution of $33,900 for the support of their life and ministry.
Will you join in supporting these religious Sisters serving the poor and needy in Mauritania?
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.