Many of us probably have some favorite stories of the influence of religious sisters in our education and formation, especially if we were privileged to attend a Catholic school or participate in a religious education program.
In my own personal list, I would have to include some embarrassing anecdotes taken from my book of juvenile escapades. But let me now offer a testimonial about the thousands of religious sisters whom I have met serving in areas where CNEWA is presently active.
So many religious sisters in Armenia, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, India, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Ukraine and other CNEWA venues are the “foot soldiers” and the “front line” of the Eastern Catholic churches. They are often the only sustained contact the poor have with Christ and his church.
Sometimes, they are the first evangelizers who share the Good News of Jesus; sometimes they are the mother figure a child has never known; sometimes they are a nurse at a clinic, not only dispensing medicine and bandages, but healthy measures of tender loving care; sometimes they offer a cup of rice to a starving mother and child; sometimes they welcome a refugee. And always, they are present. In the midst of war, famine, insurrection, terrorism, ignorance, abandonment or any form of persecution or oppression, the sisters offer their heroic witness. Make no mistake: They are heroes.
Your generous and regular gifts to CNEWA allow the sisters to carry out their missionary mandate and to continue to reflect Christ to the poor. They live every day the challenge already shared with us by our new Holy Father, Pope Francis, when he encourages us to lend a special hand of love to the poor.
On behalf of these humble and faithful heroes, I offer their heartfelt thanks for your loving support. And better yet, they promise you their prayers. You could not ask for a better return on your investment.
May God continue to bless you always.