Congolese nun wins U.N. prize for work with internally displaced women

Namaika has been working for the past four years with women forced to leave their homes in the northeastern Congolese bush because of the ongoing civil strife in the Congo.

Many of the women have been forced to marry members of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel group led by Joseph Kony, whose activities have destabilized not only Congo but disrupted life in neighboring African nations as well. Last year, she testified to Congress and the U.N. Security Council about LRA-caused instability in the region.

Speaking through an interpreter during the Sept. 12 conference call, Namaika said, “When I arrived here in Congo in 2003, I started helping women who didn’t have a chance to go to school. So when the displaced women came in 2009, I greeted them in the communities where I was doing training – Because I saw that these women were vulnerable, even more vulnerable than the other women I was helping, because these women were traumatized, and they didn’t have a chance.”

“Since they were living so far away from the center,” she continued, “I moved my training and teaching activities to the center where they (the displaced women) were living.”

She estimated she has helped 2,000 women in her ministry in Congo, including those she helped prior to her work with displaced women. Currently, she is helping 150 women “because this is what I can do with the means I have.”

Deo Gratias!

Good for her. In the Catholic Culture version of the story, it says Sr. Namaika will meet with Pope Francis and ask him to “pardon Joseph Kony, the leader of the LRA. Koney is under indictment by the International Criminal Court for multiple human-rights violations.” I’ve not heard of the Pope “pardoning” someone. Anyone know exactly what a papal “pardon” entails? Similar language was used last year when Pope Benedict XVI pardoned the criminal Vatican butler. Is it just the assertion that no canonical penalties will be pursued by the Church?

Very interesting question. I don’t have an answer but I’m hoping someone else does?

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