Seeing the Face of Christ in Ethiopia

Ethiopia hunger

The Missionaries of Charity feed more than 40,000 people in their homes across Ethiopia thanks to food donated by the U.S. and CRS private donations. Photo by Debbie DeVoe/CRS

Eleven priests and seminarians are visiting Ethiopia as part of the Global Fellows program, with the aim of seeing CRS development projects and then sharing their new understanding with Catholics in the U.S. One of their first visits was to a Missionaries of Charity home for sick and dying destitutes.

In these homes, the sisters welcome and care for those who have nowhere else to turn. It isn’t easy to see the suffering of the residents, with many dying from AIDS, fighting tuberculosis, or living with severe disabilities. Here are some of reflections from the Global Fellows after their visit:

– “You see the face of Christ on these people, especially the workers and sisters.”
– “This place is huge—800 people and they feed them two times a day—more than most people outside the center.”
– “It was amazing to hear Sister Carmen say ‘We don’t turn anyone away.’”
– “The smells.”
– “I remember thinking ‘I don’t want to touch them, I don’t want to get sick.’ And then something compelled me to touch them, and I started blessing each person I saw.”

– “It was unexpected to see people in this uncertain state being so welcoming, smiling and wanting to shake your hand.”
– “It was incredible to see the sisters and residents trusting God for providence, to bring them what they need.”
– “The disparity between the need we saw and then the restaurant we went to by the museum after was jarring.”
– “I struggle with everything I saw today. I struggle with my own discomfort.”
– “There are so many signs of hope but also a challenge: Why is Jesus in disguise in such troubled faces?”
– “It truly put faces to the poor.”
– “I saw the common desire to be loved.”
– “It made me wonder how I can model Mother Teresa, how I can do small and simple things with great love.”
– “What an incredible gift it is for us to be here during Lent and to see all of this.”
– “We need to be the voices of the people we saw today. What a responsibility, but the Lord will bring us the words.”

-Reported by Debbie DeVoe, CRS’ regional information officer for eastern and southern Africa

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