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Four nuns die in traffic accident in Ethiopia

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NEW YORK — Four Daughters of St. Anne sisters, including the provincial superior, were killed in a crash about 80 miles south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Catholic Near East Welfare Association reported.

Four other sisters were traveling in the van when it was hit by a truck en route to Hawassa March 7; one remained in critical condition, CNEWA reported March 8.

Msgr. John E. Kozar, president of CNEWA, had visited the sisters in April 2016.

“The news of the traffic death of four sisters in Ethiopia, the Daughters of St. Anne, touches our hearts and souls very deeply,” Msgr. Kozar said March 7. “Having met the superior and many of the sisters in previous pastoral visits, I know the church of Ethiopia has lost some very devoted servants.”

“To their community and the entire church of Ethiopia and its people, we offer our collective prayers and support. May God welcome these servants into his heavenly kingdom,” he said.

The dead provincial was Sister Weinshet Gebru. Also killed were Sisters Motu Baba, Hanna Bekute, and Gedena Weldu.

The Daughters of St. Anne have served in Ethiopia and Eritrea for more than 50 years. They run schools, health facilities, cutting and sewing schools, vocational training centers, orphanages, and a school for the visually impaired. They partnered with Catholic Near East Welfare Association on several projects.

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Pope Francis praises members of Refugee Olympic Team

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — In a personal message addressed to each of the 10 members of the new Refugee Olympic Team, Pope Francis wished them success in their events and thanked them for the witness they are giving the world.

The new Refugee Olympic Team arrives for the opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro Aug. 5. In a personal message addressed to each of the 10 members of the new Refugee Olympic Team, Pope Francis wished them success in their events and thanked them for the witness they are giving the world. (CNS photo/David Gray, Reuters)

The new Refugee Olympic Team arrives for the opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro Aug. 5. In a personal message addressed to each of the 10 members of the new Refugee Olympic Team, Pope Francis wished them success in their events and thanked them for the witness they are giving the world. (CNS photo/David Gray, Reuters)

Naming each of the team’s athletes from South Sudan, Syria, Congo and Ethiopia, Pope Francis said he had read some of the interviews with team members “so that I could get closer to your lives and your aspirations.”

“I extend my greetings and wish you success at the Olympic Games in Rio, that your courage and strength find expression through the Olympic Games and serve as a cry for peace and solidarity,” he said in the message, signed in late July.

The 2016 Summer Games marked the first time a refugee team officially participated in the Olympics. Team members marched under the Olympic flag and, in the event a team member wins a medal, the Olympic anthem was to be played instead of the national anthem of the athlete’s home country.

Pope Francis expressed his hope that through the team “humanity would understand that peace is possible, that with peace everything can gained, but with war all can be lost.”

“Your experience serves as testimony and benefits us all,” the pope told team members.

Yusra Mardini, 18, was the first member of the team to compete in Rio. The swimmer is ranked 41st among women swimmers competing in the 100-meter butterfly; Mardini finished first in her initial heat Aug. 6.

Like tens of thousands of Syrians, Mardini fled her war-torn country through Lebanon and Turkey. She found a space on a rubber dingy to make her way to Lesbos, Greece, but the motor stalled. She, her sister and another woman, the only people on the boat who could swim, pushed the boat to shore.

From Greece, Mardini traveled on to Germany, where she was given official refugee status in March and continued her training as a competitive swimmer.

Five of the athletes, including Rose Nathike Lokonyen, 23, the team’s flag bearer for the opening ceremony, are South Sudanese refugees who were living in the huge Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya.

The national Olympic committees of the refugees’ host countries, the U.N. Refugee Agency and the International Olympic Committee chose the team members. The IOC provided the athletes uniforms and is covering their costs and those of the team’s coaches and staff.

 

Follow Wooden on Twitter: @Cindy_Wooden.

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Sex trafficking, indentured labor bedevil victims and foes alike

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — The scourge of human trafficking, be it in the form of sex slavery or immigrant work gangs, not only bedevils people victimized by those practices but even those who campaign against them.

During an Oct. 26 conference on trafficking at The Catholic University of America, Ethiopian trafficking victims told of going through a dozen different countries at the behest of smugglers before arriving in the United States, where their treatment by federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents was even harsher than in their home country.

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