Monday, March 20, 2023
Sister María del Carmen Galicia [in the picture], a Mexican nun of the Comboni Missionary Sisters who worked in Sudan, an African country with a 97% Muslim population, stressed that “peaceful coexistence” is possible between the followers of Islam and Christianity. [Credit: Ana Paula Morales/ACI Prensa. ACI Africa]
Speaking with ACI Prensa, ACI Africa's Spanish-language news partner, the nun related that Muslims “come, attend, and participate” in Catholic celebrations, such as marriages and confirmations. “Then, when it’s Ramadan,” the month dedicated by Muslims to prayer and intense fasting during the day until sunset, “they also invited us to eat with them” in the evenings.
Galicia explained that she lived in the Nuba Mountains region in central Sudan. “It [was] an abandoned, isolated area: There are no roads, there’s no electricity, there’s no water, there are no essential services, to say nothing of schools! There were no schools or hospitals,” the nun continued.
Under the leadership of Macram Max Gassis, the bishop of El Obeid (Sudan) from 1988 to 2013, in the region “schools, a hospital, and also a radio station where I was working were built with the help of benefactors,” she said. “It was very beautiful, because not only Christians participated in my radio program but also Muslims,” she said.
Since its independence in 1956, Sudan has been mired in civil wars and ethnic, religious, and economic clashes. In 2011, Christian-majority South Sudan broke away and became the world’s newest country. The Comboni missionary highlighted the joy of Christians who live their faith in Sudan. In one of the Christian communities where she served, she said, “the Masses could last more than an hour and a half. They are very happy, they sing, play the drums, and dance”. “It means a lot to them that there is a Father in the face of the experience that they have had of much pain, much suffering for years of war.”
“Hearing that God is a Father who loves them, who does not abandon them and that, even though they are ‘people of color,’ he is with them, is very consoling for them”. For example, “when they go to Communion, during the celebration they start to sing around the altar”. “On one occasion, a lady, wondering if God was with them or not in that situation affirmed that God was there in fact [and] she saw him present in the missionaries who were accompanying them, and she felt that God was showing them his love,” the sister said.
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.
[Ana Paula Morales – ACI Africa]