Sister Belaynesh is one of 625 Medical Mission Sisters in 17 nations trying to be present to others in the spirit of Jesus the Healer.
The oldest of twelve children, Sister Belaynesh was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. After completing her education, she worked at the Cistercian Technical School, where she first met the Medical Mission Sisters. She made her First Vows in our Community in 1987.
As a young Sister, she shared, “For me it is important to share in and participate in the healing ministry of Christ, since I belong to the part of our world’s society who receive only 8% of the world’s resources for health. It does not matter where and how I involve myself, but it is important to me to try and bring hope and justice to people. I want my life to witness to this, and I want to be part of the struggle for freedom wherever oppression exists, in any form and in any degree.”
After pharmacy training, Sister Belaynesh worked at Attat Hospital, then moved to our community-based project in Debre Zeit, Ethiopia. She now works for the Archdiocese of Addis Ababa, coordinating the Justice and Peace Desk, which she set up in 2006. She says, “Contemporary Ethiopia is changing fast and going through the process of socio-economic, political and cultural transformation…there is a real need to educate citizens on issues related to human rights and to prepare them to vote, and to have positive political involvement on matters that affect their lives.”
Sister Belaynesh’s work includes preparing and organizing seminars and workshops for religious and political leaders, teachers, parish youth leaders and laity council leaders. She explains, “Our Mission is to strengthen communities of Christians which exhibit love, justice and peace, so as to enhance the formation of a more egalitarian society.”
Within seven of the Catholic schools, Sister Belaynesh has developed Peace Clubs. She has also produced a guide book to help students have Peace Club meetings. The enthusiasm and commitment of the young people is a great inspiration to her. The students say that being in the Peace Clubs has positively changed their attitudes towards others and helped them to know themselves, to envision what they can become, to set goals, and to become more tolerant and confident as they work to promote peace and justice.
March 1, 2010