SIERRA LEONE (1979-1995)
In the 1970s, the FCJ sisters heard the call, once again, to keep alive the missionary zeal of their foundress, Marie Madeleine. They were aware of the cry of the poor in developing countries, an appeal for help from the richer nations. The media carried the slogan: "Send people not money."
Many FCJs felt called to answer this cry and they offered to be sent wherever the Society felt there was the greatest need to which it could respond -- teaching in schools, giving basic health care, nurturing the human person, living and learning among a people starved for the Good News of Jesus.
Thus it was that on November 6th. 1979, four sisters, Faithful Companions of Jesus set out for Sierra Leone in West Africa. These sisters were: Philippa Mayston from England, Mary Patrick Breen and Mary Agnes Long from Ireland and Susan Donohue from the U.S.A. Throughout the next fifteen years, a good number of sisters from different countries in our international Society spent some years there. The first foundation was in Kailahun in the eastern Province.
The FCJ mission developed in the area of Moriba Town in the southern province in 1982 and, later, to the Pastoral Training Centre in Kenema. Sadly, tragedy struck Sierra Leone in 1991 when Liberian rebels invaded the country and took control of the east and south. Two FCJ sisters came very near to death when their house was ransacked and they had to flee through the jungle and across the river to Guinea. They were never able to return to Kailahun as it continued to remain in the hands of the rebels.
The civil war in Liberia which spilled over to Kailahun and the southern province in 1991, continued to affect the country. By 1995 the remaining FCJs had to flee for their lives and leave behind a people whom they had come to know and love, people whom they had taught and with whom they had worked side by side. Sierra Leone continues to be a country fraught with danger and lawlessness and so the FCJ sisters can no longer be on mission there at this time.