On February 18th in a note of welcome to us in her book, Sr. Ethel quoted John O Donohue stating; ‘ Beauty is not a luxury, not something owned by the wealthy or elite but something available to us all.’ She expressed her hope that we would ‘ surely find the unspoilt beauty of the Missionvale people ‘ during our week there. I can certainly confirm that I experienced such beauty. In the midst of dealing with absolute poverty and suffering continuously, Sr. Ethel and her staff display a tremendous sense of wellbeing which would be envied by so many who have plenty material wealth.
I was delighted to see that all of her programs are continuing to run and benefit so many people in the Missionvale community. Yet her work depends completely on the generosity of people particularly in Ireland, USA and Australia. In the nutrition centre, I was struck by the fact that there were less loaves of bread to cut and give out. On route back to the airport Sr. Ethel told me that the cost of a loaf of bread has almost doubled in the last year. She blames this on the on- going corruption in the South African government.
Therefore we must continue to raise awareness and funds so that she and her staff can continue their invaluable work.
Again, it was a privilege to work alongside a living, walking saint so I would like to thank Joanne and Fr. Donagh for organising the trip. Also to witness the depth of faith in her staff is awe inspiring.