Missionary sister seeks advanced education for young women in South Sudan

She spoke at an event called “Women on the Frontlines,” held at the U.S. Embassy.

Three missionary religious sisters wowed attendees at an event at the U.S. Embassy in Rome. The reason was their work in empowering and caring for women daily through education or healthcare, giving them a chance at a better future.

The U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Callista Gingrich opened up the second annual symposium.

CALLISTA GINGRICH
U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See
“We are here today to recognize the work of women religious on the frontlines.”

One speaker was Sr. Orla Treacy, winner of the United States’ “2019 Woman of Courage Award.”

In her work in South Sudan, she asserts she is not rebuilding, but rather building this new eight-year-old country.

Sr. Orla does this through education for young people and women, victims of the civil war still taking place in their country.

SR. ORLA TREACY
Missionary in South Sudan
 “The effects of war have been felt throughout the country. And as religious missionaries, we weren’t spared. With the killing of two arrived missionaries, and many of our communities displaced and attacked. In a population of 11 million people 4 million today are displaced and 7 million are hungry.”

In the country with the lowest literacy rate in the world, 26 percent, only seven percent of girls finish school. Sr. Orla works with young girls in a boarding school to advance their education for hope of a better future. The school has become a safe refuge for many.

One example she gave was that of Martha, who escaped a forced married at 16 years old with a man who already had three wives.

SR. ORLA TREACY
Missionary in South Sudan
“When she refused, she was beaten and forced to walk deep into the bush for the wedding. On the journey, she managed to escape in the long grass and returned to the town. She tried to escape back to school, but unfortunately, she was found again and beaten. Our school can never close.”

Sr. Orla has lived in the area now known as South Sudan for 15 years, before the war even began. She insists school children she teaches desire peace and hope for a future with opportunities, all which start within the classroom.