20 March 2012
Girls discuss reading material with Filipino Teresian Amabel Sibug at the Pontifical Mission Library in Amman. (photo: Tanya Habjouqa)
Beth Clausnitzer is CNEWA’s director of Donor Services.
While planning CNEWA’s campaign to celebrate women in the church with my colleagues, I found my emotional focus being pulled in two directions: the tireless work of the religious sisters who devote their lives to helping others, and the lay women who support their missions, either directly or indirectly. Mercy Sister Christian Molidor and Megan Knighton have shared their thoughts on the work of the sisters. Now, I would like to share my thoughts on the work of laywomen.
To outsiders, it appears that laywomen make smaller sacrifices than women in religious life in service to God. A sacrifice, however, is still a sacrifice and it should never be undervalued. Time that is devoted to working with the poor, assisting with fundraising or simply volunteering to clean the church hall following a social event — all of it counts.
Every day, I look around CNEWA’s office and see women who could easily earn a larger salary in the secular business world, yet they choose to earn less knowing their sacrifice serves the greater good. Many times I’ve stepped into the elevator — our offices are located in the Terence Cardinal Cooke Center, home of the Archdiocese of New York — and have overheard conversations that ranged from possible solutions for solving technical problems to soothing words of encouragement being given to an immigrant who had sought asylum to avoid religious persecution in his homeland. The range of work that lay women do for the church is broad and never-ending.
I’m proud to be counted among these women. From this office worker living in New York City to all of the women of the church around the world, I celebrate you, your strength, your dedication, your contribution and your love.
For more posts related to our Celebrating Women initiative, click here.
16 February 2012
Tags: CNEWA Jordan Women Amman
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Scanned letter from an Eritrean child, dated March 18, 1986.
Recently, we received a small package in the mail that reached out and grabbed our hearts. It was an example of how love extends beyond our lifetime and is carried forward, sometimes by complete strangers.
To Whom It May Concern:
Today, I purchased a file cabinet at an estate sale at the home of a married couple in Orlando, Florida. (I learned both are now deceased.) When I brought the cabinet home and began to clean it, I found that some of the hanging files had items in them. The correspondences filed under “Orphans” touched me deeply.
I can just imagine how wonderful it was for the two young children pictured in the files to have had such loving and caring parent-sponsors, and how richly rewarding it was for the couple to be part of the children’s lives.
I simply could not discard, the photos and letters, I am therefore forwarding the file’s contents to you with the hopes that you will be able to, in turn, forward them to the two individuals, who are now adults, possibly with families of their own. What treasured memories the contents will surface for them!
Everything happens for a reason in God’s clearly defined plans for us. It was meant for me to find the file and to send it to you to forward to the beneficiaries of the couple’s generosity.
Lovingly in Christ,
A caring heart performing a random act of kindness.
The accompanying correspondences date as far back as 1983. Can you imagine how deeply this family must have loved and cherished their relationships with these children whom they had never met? The physical distance was greater than 8,000 miles, but the emotional connection was so strong the donors kept their letters and photographs for 29 years!
I wish it were possible for us to locate these now-grown children. Sadly, too much time has passed and there just aren’t enough resources to even begin such a quest. But while I am unable to locate the recipients of this family’s love, I can share their story of love with you.
May God bless this caring heart for this “random act of kindness” to remind us that love — especially God’s love — transcends both time and distance.
Beth Clausnitzer is CNEWA’s Director of Donor Services.
Tags: Children Africa Sponsorship Eritrea
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