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Propagation of the Faith

Do Not Fear, I Am With You! (Is 41:10)

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Maureen Crowley

Sister Stan Therese Mumuni runs the Nazareth Home for God's Children in the Diocese of Yendi, Ghana. She currently cares for almost a hundred children, all with some level of physical or mental challenge. In accordance with local custom, people associate any disability with evil spirits, and so the youngsters are considered "spirit children" and a bad omen. This includes twins, like the beautiful boys pictured with Sister. Being born two at a time was enough to see the little ones rejected by their village and cast out.

With help from The Propagation of the Faith, Sister Stan has saved their lives.

Sarah is a happy twelve-year-old girl, ready to share her talents with the world! Her favorite school subjects are math, science, and religion; she is at the top of her class. She has come a long way since she came to live at the Nazareth Home.

"I was about four or five... I came here because I was condemned by my family and my community," says Sarah. Born with a speech impediment, Sarah could not speak to defend herself when she was wrongfully accused of being involved in the deaths of fifteen local people. Seen as unwilling to speak, her family cast her out of her village and threatened her life.

Thankfully, Sister Stan and the local Church heard about Sarah. Sister recalls fighting for the girl -- almost physically -- to save Sarah from her fate.

The work of missionaries like Sister Stan, funded by The Propagation of the Faith, helps to educate others about disabilities. Unfortunately, children like Sarah continue to face discrimination, rejection, and lack of opportunity.

Sarah says of Sister Stan, "I love her because she saved my life." If not for Sister Stan and missionaries like her who depend on donors' support, children like Sarah would have no safe haven.

Right now, as we are all concerned about the security of the children in our lives, the Sister Stans of the world offer this gentle reminder that our faith compels us to set aside our fears and care for all of God's children. Their lives may depend upon our help.

- Maureen Crowley Heil is Director of Programs and Development for the Pontifical Mission Societies, Boston.

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