FridayNovember 13, 2009

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She runs a dispensary and teaching hospital. She teaches English classes. She has been caring for babies in South Sudan for 20 years. She is firm, yet gentle. She easily laughs, yet becomes teary when describing some of the traumas she witnessed during war-time in Sudan. She is a Catholic nun originally from India. She refuses to stay in expensive hotels when invited to lecture at special events. She carries a little purple purse.

“She” is Sister Gracy. She embodies the spirit of compassion. She is a mentor for many young women, and for men too. And she is a founder of the only fully registered nursing school in South Sudan called “Mary Help Training Center.”

Sister Gracy is the kind of person who makes me want to be a better person. Without propagation, she’s even the type of woman who could inspire me to want to attend mass at the nearest cathedral if it might help me live more like her.

In a short amount of time, I have developed a great deal of respect for this woman. Regardless of your spiritual beliefs or unbelief, Sister Gracy represents a vision for a brighter Sudan. If I could cast a vote for an annual peace prize recipient, she would be a strong candidate.

In 2010, we will be encouraging some of our Africa ELI students to volunteer at her community health center. I feel confident that the experience and knowledge they will gain from being under her tutelage will have a ripple effect. Just imagine how many people in South Sudan will be indirectly impacted by her wisdom and perseverance. Certainly it will be one more way for Africa ELI students to “build peace through education.”

 

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