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A Decade of Service at the United Nations

Working for justice at the United Nations is one of hundreds of ways in which Medical Mission Sisters around the world try to be a healing presence to others today.

Sister Philo Morris recently completed a decade of service at the U.N. in New York, and is now returning to India. Her ministry began in 2000, when our Community received consultative status with ECOSOC, the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. This council coordinates the U.N.’s work in economic, social, cultural, educational, health and related fields.

An attorney who also has a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce, Sister Philo helped to start a NGO (non-government organization) Committee on Financing and Development, which she chaired from 2004 to 2008. Now with 74 member organizations, this group helps poor countries develop their economies and better deal with critical issues like HIV/AIDS, debt and poverty. Along with a small group of environment NGOs, Sister Philo started a Working Group on Climate Change in 2009, which now has 65 member organizations.

In her U.N. ministry, Sister Philo collaborated with Church World Service, Anglicans at the U.N., Pax Romana, Voices of African Mothers, MDG (Millenium Development Goals) Global Watch, and the Vihara Foundation which works in India. She also served as Co-Chair of the Earth Values Caucus, a NGO focused on sustainable development and on infusing ecological values into the U.N. agenda, documents and processes.

“I believe we are the voice of the voiceless in an arena where policies are made which affect every living being on our planet earth,” she explains. “The work at the U.N. was very challenging for me, and I am very grateful to the Society for entrusting this important aspect of our mission to me.” She adds, “I never worked so hard before, and never travelled so much…I loved every moment of it.”

We thank Sister Philo for her many contributions at the U.N., and we welcome her successor, Sister Celine Paramundayil from India, who begins a three-year term at the U.N. this month. A nurse-midwife and educator, Sister Celine was our first Sister to work with the poor dalit women in India – those in the lowest social strata. We wish her many blessings in the U.N. ministry.

July 1, 2010