A Car for the Handmaids of the Lord and the Virgin of Matarą in Tunisia
Project Code: 157-05-29
The Congregation of the Handmaids of the Lord and the Virgin of Matarà is still quite young. Yet while it was only founded in Argentina in 1988, it already has 1040 Sisters working in 27 different countries. Since August 2005, the congregation has also been present in Tunisia, a northern African country which was already an important center of Christianity as early as 100 A.D. It was from here that the two holy martyrs Felicity and Perpetua originated, and also the early Christian writer Tertullian who lived from approximately 150–220 A.D. and is the author of the famous statement: "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church."
Today, Tunisia is 99.5% Muslim, but the presence of the Sisters remains valuable and necessary. Since their arrival here they have established three communities. One of their tasks is looking after female students who come to Tunisia from other parts of Africa to study here. For these young women, it is unthinkable that they should return home without having completed their studies, since their parents have made great sacrifices in order to send them to university in Tunisia.
Yet here, in this foreign country, they are often confronted with much greater problems than they had ever imagined. Many of them end up in prostitution. "With us they find not only a roof over their heads and a warm meal, but above all a family that welcomes them and supports them in the difficulties of everyday life," writes Sister Maria. The Sisters also visit elderly and lonely people, run a primary school and kindergarten and help out in the cathedral parish in the capital city, Tunis, where they also run a guesthouse for the archdiocese.
Until now the Sisters have used public transport in order to reach the places where they are needed. However, since the revolution of 2010, the situation in the country has become increasingly insecure and difficult, a fact that is observable everywhere. Especially on the buses and trains, there are frequent thefts and attacks. Women in particular cannot feel secure and are ever more frequently becoming the victims of harassment.
The Sisters are
afraid. Wherever the distances permit, they go only on foot, and they no longer
go out of the house alone. But in the long term this is no solution, and so they
have turned to ACN for help to buy a suitable vehicle. We would like to help
them with $9,700. Will you give so that they can buy a car and so move about
more safely as they go about their work of service to the needy in Tunisia? We are
sure they will remember you in their grateful prayers.
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