February 15, 2010

Where Sisters of Mercy Minister: South Africa (2)

In the programme to be held by Mercy International Association this Wednesday, 17th February  entitled 'Soup and Substance', the realities of South Africa and the ministry of Sisters of Mercy in that country will be featured.  As a parallel to that, MIA is highlighting South Africa this week in the series on the various countries where Sisters of Mercy minister.

The first Sisters of Mercy to go to Africa arrived 113 years ago in Cape Town, South Africa, in October 1897, and opened the first Convent of Mercy in Mafeking, South Africa, on 15th February 18, 112 years ago today.  Mercy has been present in that country ever since.  To read the history of the community in South Africa, see:

South Africa: Our Story and
South Africa: Our History

At present, Sisters of Mercy from three Mercy families live and minister in South Africa: the Congregation of Sisters of Mercy (Ireland), Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, and Sisters of Mercy of the Union of Great Britain.  The Congregation of Sisters of Mercy (Ireland) has a province located in South Africa, and sisters from that province were founding members of the Congregation which was formed in 1994.

Ministry of the Sisters of Mercy in South Africa is rich and varied.  It includes health care in the form of wellness clinics, HIV/Aids clinics, a dental clinic, nutrition clinics, and the provision of other support for people who face the consequences of HIV/Aids.  Education ministry includes skills development centres, teaching, a music centre, catechetics, and other support for children and parents.  There are shelters for homeless women and children, as well as another shelter for abused and trafficked women.  Some sisters engage in retreat and spiritual direction ministry, prison visitation, and providing support in personal human development.  There are small business development programmes and a couple of social services advice bureaus.  In addition, sisters are involved in the care of orphans and vulnerable children, support of seasonal workers who face high levels of unemployment, provision of refugee services, and the running of a centre for justice.

For more information on these ministries provided by Sisters of Mercy, visit the following webpages:

South Africa: Our Work
South Africa: Our News
South Africa: Where we are

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