Pay it forward for a nun who has changed your life

by Thomas C. Fox

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How refreshing and inspiring it is to continually hear about the great work that our Catholic sisters are doing around the world. As I noted in a blog here the other day, Nick Kristof writing in The New York Times weighed in with a column about these great women. Even with all the institutional woes of our church, the real work goes on, and all you have to do is go to the poorest areas of developing countries and you’ll see that a substantial amount of that work is by nuns.

Author and occasional NCR contributor Paul Wilkes last year wrote about his experiences, highlighting some of the selfless work of the Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco of the Bangalore Province, after a trip he took there. (First piece; second piece).

These are, as Wilkes writes, “competent, focused, wonderful women who, day in and day out, are serving the poorest of the poor. Their orphanages are places of safety and laughter for street and slum girls who have finally found a refuge. The girls’ parents have died of AIDS, some were abandoned and arrived not even knowing their names, too many were sexually exploited, but now their future is bright.”

Wilkes’ interest in these Salesian sisters and their work goes back some years and goes well beyond journalism. He has been trying to help the women as best he can and to that end he began a charitable foundation called Home of Hope India-US. Through the organization he is helping the women build a new orphanage in Secunderabad.

Writes Wilkes: “There, on my last trip I saw eighty girls jammed into a tiny second floor space and sleeping on a dusty concrete floor every night. There is no other place for them. They need a clean place to sleep, a chance to go to school, to run and play like the kids they are.”

These Salesian sisters have begged and prayed, and are trying to raise money for land for the new orphanage. They are still $60,000 short and the deadline for their final payment is this Saturday, April 24. Each of us has benefitted from the work of women religious at some point in our lives. Well, here is a chance to “pay it forward.” A donation in any amount will be a statement of support and a thank you to these great women.

For more information contact Paul Wilkes, Executive Director, Home of Hope India; 910-815-0695. You can visit the Home of Hope Web site here. Donations to Home of Hope, a 501c3 charitable organization and donations are tax deductable.

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