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Slovakia - Žakovce

Sr. Viera Miklušičáková CJ writes about a social experiment and experience of poverty in Žakovce:
Žakovce is a small village under the High Tatras, but Slovak people use name "Žakovce" also for a complex of buildings that has been growing up on the outskirts of this village. There I spent six weeks of my social experiment. The full name of the complex is The Institute of Christ the High Priest in Žakovce and it is an institution for people at the margins. It is managed by the IKV – The Institute of Christ the High Priest; it is a secular institute of the consecrated, priests and laity. One of the IKV members is also Fr.Marián Kuffa, a parish priest of Žakovce. He started this work twenty years ago with nothing, but with a strong faith, a loving heart and the blessing of his bishop.
The institute has been created gradually, according to the needs of people that come there. Nowadays there are nearly 300 clients in Žakovce; homeless people, alcoholics, ex-offenders, the abandoned, disabled men and women, youth at the end of institutional or protective education, the divorced and Roma, childless women after leaving the orphanages, mothers with children who ended up in the street for various reasons and now have no place to go. Every client must pray and work, except from the sick and children - they do not work, of course. Prayer, work and love are the main part of therapy there. The motto of Marian Kuffa and IKV states:
Love people the way they are; the less they deserve it, the more you love them. Do not love them according to the size of their merit, but according to the size of their needs!
The time that I spent there, in Žakovce, was for me really a blessing. Most of the time I spent with mums and their children; tutoring children, helping with leisure time activities, weekend life and night services. The whole time in Žakovce I felt that God was with me, too. He had been there before I came. And all that time there were coming to my mind words from the fortieth Psalm: "Poor and needy as I am, the Lord has me in mind…" Žakovce has been a grace, and I’m really glad and thankful that I could experience it.

This news item expired on 31/07/2012.

Zimbabwe – Nesigwe

Sr Thoma van Dahl and Eva Hinz, a volunteer from Germany, visited Nesigwe in November and wrote a long, illustrated article for the Mainz community to thank them for their continued support of this new and demanding mission. Here is an edited account that focuses on developments within the school.
The Nesigwe Mission includes the diocesan secondary school that had for a long time been without adequate staff and teaching resources. Earlier this year, within days of arriving in Nesigwe and starting to teach in the school, Sr Monika Mujera found herself promoted to the post of deputy head. Her school experience and organizing abilities are now being put to good use.
There is little annual rain in this hot region, and often there is no electricity or clean water. The school is very poor and the students, boys and girls, come from the surrounding rural areas. They arrive at school having walked many miles and usually without having eaten breakfast. The Mary Ward School in Mainz now sponsors a daily portion of ‘Mahewu’ – a traditional drink made from maize, sugar and other local ingredients. During the cold winter months the students will receive hot Instant-Porridge. This nourishment makes all the difference to the students’ learning capacity in school. Without nourishment they were listless, exhausted and often asleep, and the same went for the teachers! Three new classrooms have also been built, and local parents have helped to prepare the ground and construct the boundary fence.
In the photo below the students are saying a big ‘thank you’ – ‘SIYABONGA’ to the students in Mainz.

This news item expired on 31/07/2012.

Middle European Province – Langenberg

In July 2011 a new facility at the ‘Haus Maria Frieden’ in Langenberg was opened for seriously traumatised children to be known as ‘Zitronenfalter’:
A ‘Zitronenfalter’ is a ‘brimstone butterfly’ in English, and just as butterflies emerge from caterpillars so it is hoped that the children who come here will slowly, step by step, take their own lives in their hands, and emerge as a butterfly emerges from a chrysalis.
The children who come to ‘Zitronenfalter’ are between the ages of five and twelve. They have been the victims of various forms of abuse: sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional neglect, serious trauma, and they constitute extreme cases of educational ‘insecurity’. Here in ‘Zitronenfalter’ they will receive healing, intensive group trauma therapy and the very best developmental opportunities possible. Part of the pedagogical concept will be to work together with parents, schools and the responsible youth officers.
The house for this facility was the gift of a married couple from Langenberg, who in their will expressed the wish that the house would be used for needy children. The first eight children arrived in August. For the CJ sisters it is a great joy to be part of this project. Increasingly, and especially at the beginning, the ‘Zitronenfalter’ group enables us to feel how real the mission of Mary Ward is, and how diverse and alive it can be.

This news item expired on 31/07/2012.