In 2006 the Loreto Sisters in the Irish Province established a new foundation in Rumbek, South Sudan. Each province in the congregation, throughout the world, was challenged by the General Leadership Team in Rome, to have courage to open a new foundation in a place where Loreto was not established. We chose South Sudan, a huge challenge! However, our pioneering Sisters were inspired by the words of our founder Mary Ward, ‘Women in time to come will do much’.
Two years after the arrival of our sisters in Rumbek a new Loreto School welcomed some students. Since then the school has gone from strength to strength with many girls continuing their education at third level, many becoming future teachers. A primary school has also been opened. Students are not only taught but are provided with food on a daily basis. Parents are being helped and encouraged to keep sending their daughters to school, which at times is difficult in a traditional male world. However, education offers new opportunities and great hope for the future. Recently the local Chief of the area, Mangar Manyeil Dhai, addressed the students at a graduation ceremony, ‘Education is something important. Graduates, you have shown a great example to the rest of the students coming after you. The first person to know the importance of education is you, yourself, and then society will learn from you. Loreto graduates will become leaders of South Sudan’.
Loreto Sisters had the courage to open this foundation in a war torn South Sudan. They are making a difference on a daily basis to hundreds of students and their families. Since 2006 a number of Sisters have served in Rumbek, many volunteering during the summer months, others spending longer periods of time there. Today there are three Loreto Sisters from different provinces in the congregation ministering to the needs of the people of Rumbek and the surrounding area – Sr. Orla Treacy from Ireland, is Principal of the school, Sr. Colette Daesy, another Irish Sister who is a member of the Mauritian Province, teaches in the school, and Sr. Penina Omanya, a nurse from the East African Province runs the local clinic, pictured on the left above. Not only are they offering education and medical support in a war torn country, but hope for a better future for all.
Log on to the Loreto Rumbek website at www.lotetorumbek.ie