Restoring the Earth in South Sudan

A woman works in a community garden in South Sudan in 2017. (CNS photo/Paul Jeffrey)

A woman works in a community garden in South Sudan in 2017. (CNS photo/Paul Jeffrey)

by Sr. Felicia Matola

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Sr. Felicia Matola

Sr. Felicia Matola

In Wau, Western Bar El Gazal, South Sudan, where I work, Fr. Marco Mangu Udillio, the diocesan administrator, is an avid gardener and wants everyone to stop cutting trees and to plant fruit trees. He asked all parishes to get involved. Wonderful mahogany and teak trees are being cut down for "business." with no replanting. As a result, Wau has less rainfall and higher temperatures.

So during last year's Season of Creation, we began airing a weekly radio series in Arabic with some English. The series has involved our deacons, the justice and peace department, the cathedral youth and parents. I completed a Laudato Si' animators' course and planned this series to help others hear the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor. With each weekly program, more and more people are calling for a stop to the cutting of trees in Wau. Praise be to God!

— Sr. Felicia Matola, a member of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters for Africa, was born in Clairton, Pennsylvania, and has spent most of her life as a missionary in Uganda, Kenya and now South Sudan. She has ministered as a teacher and youth organizer and facilitator for HIV prevention, and has worked with faith development programs and women's clubs. She also has held leadership positions in her community. She attributes her love for the Earth and the poor to the examples of her mother and St. Francis.

This story appears in the Small Earth Stories feature series. View the full series.

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