Africa Visitor Seeks Hope Amid Great Need

In early September, a delegation of diocesan leaders from across the United States visited Ethiopia and Tanzania to get a first-hand look at CRS work. The following is a reflection by Dianne Hanley, associate director, Parish Social Ministry, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Baton Rouge.

I asked myself at the end of the day: What is going on inside of me as I reflect on visiting the Missionaries of Charities site in Africa? I tell the Lord that I feel overwhelmed. There is so much need. One of our group commented that the orphaned children at the compound are the “lucky ones”. Compared to whom? I suppose to the other children who have not made it here.

In the midst of feeling despair, I felt some consolation in hope. I experienced hope when I learned that the young mothers are advised of where to find training and how to get an education. There is hope for the people who walk miles to get to the hospital and have the Missionaries of Charities to take them in as they wait days for an appointment with the hospital. People recovering from illness, far from home, can stay at the Missionaries of Charities to recuperate before starting the long walk home. The patients learn about hygiene and medications while they recuperate. And there are many more examples of hope here.

I can become paralyzed by the extreme need or I can become galvanized to roll up my sleeves and join in the work. Who am I? God’s child. How will I respond knowing that I am God’s child? I ask the Lord to help me to process all this overwhelming information in a way that will serve God through God’s beloved.

I ask God what is the lesson in all this? I hear, “Bring the information back as a gift to your brothers and sisters.”

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