FCJ Connections and Outreach

Submitted by Sr Veronika, fcJ

At the end of the FCJ Bicentenary Year I received this message from a lady known to the FCJ sisters in Naga, Philippines, about 30 years ago. She lived in the parish, was part of the youth program. Her dream: to become a medical doctor.

Through our FCJ connections, a former pupil from a European FCJ school supported her throughout these expensive studies. She then worked for a few years in the Philippines, also helping out at times in FCJ Development Centre, Quezon City. She then joined an European medical organisation who sent her to crisis places: Balkan, Nepal after the earthquake, Sri Lanka for a program for women, twice to Africa, the last time to a camp in Uganda with thousands of refugees from South Sudan. She was in charge of a hospital in the camp.

Lately she wrote to me about her present assignment. With her permission, I share it with you:

I am still in Yemen. I keep travelling between Sanaa (the Northern part where the rebel government is) and Aden (the Southern part where the internationally recognized government is located). Quite complicated to travel because I need to have the visas from both governments. In Sanaa, sometimes there are airstrikes at night and we sleep in the “safe room”. In Aden, the situation is better. I do not hear gunfire or airstrikes at all. And they have the beach. I can eat fish and seafood anytime I want. Aden is more peaceful for me than in Sanaa, but the government here is also fighting with another group, which is also different from the group in Sanaa. The situation is so complex. 

We support the health centres and hospitals in both Sanaa and Aden areas. That is why I need to travel often to support the team. I have visited most facilities. I always like doing field visits and meeting the team in the health facilities. It also helps me a lot in making decisions when I know the real situation on the ground. I am the main technical person making major decisions regarding the program, so it is important that I keep myself abreast with real information from the team itself. 

I will be moving to Sanaa soon. My residency visa needs to be renewed in the North, so I have no choice but to go, although I prefer to stay here in Aden. At least here, I do not hear a lot of gunfire or see people bringing firearms in the street. Here, I can hear and see children playing and no gunfire at night and no airstrikes. But anyway, duty calls.

Is it not amazing, that a student from Sta. Clara is doing crucial humanitarian work in Yemen and risking her life?

I marvel in my life story how connections in one place, lead to connections in another, how we become inspiring agents and participants in the lives of so many people.

Veronika, fcJ

If Marie Madeleine, our foundress, in 1820 had said: No, too much for me… if FCJs had not gone to the Philippines…. If…. One day we will see how much we have been catalysers for changes happening all around the globe.

“What is more important: the way or the goal?”
“The Companions on the way,” said the little bear.

„Was ist wichtiger, der Weg oder das Ziel?“
„Die Weggefährten“, sagte der kleine Bär.