Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Monday 02 August |
Saint of the Day: St. Peter Julian Eymard
home iconFor Her
line break icon

Why a humble Italian nun was just honored by the US State Department

WOMEN OF COURAGE, SISTER MARIA ELENA BERINI

US Department of State | PD

Sophia Swinford - published on 03/29/18

The International Women of Courage awards honor women who are changing the world.

Among its many noble honorees, the 12th annual International Women of Courage ceremony celebrated Sister Maria Elena, an Italian nun working in Africa to heal areas heavily affected by war and violence.

Heather Nauert, spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, said, “She has provided refuge to those internally displaced people by conflict, and her tireless work to bring peace in the Central African Republic. Thank you, Sister.”

Born in 1944, Sister Maria Elena began working at 15 years old to help support her family and entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Charity of St. Jeanne Anthide Thouret at 19. A strong desire to serve and an ardent compassion for the people of Africa led to her superiors to send her to work as a teacher in war-torn areas of Chad. She was later sent to a mission in the Central African Republic, where she shelters displaced people, and at 74 she is still devoted to working towards peace.

According to the U.S. State Department, The International Women of Courage ceremony celebrates “women around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk and sacrifice.”

Sister Maria Elena definitely falls into such categories and deserves recognition for her devotion and sacrifice both in her vocation and in her service to the people of Africa.


Anita de Lourdes

Read more:
Meet the nun behind a hurricane-wrecked school that’s keeping hope alive

Tags:
AfricaPracticing MercyWomen
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
SIMONE BILES
Cerith Gardiner
Simone Biles leaves the Olympics with an important lesson for her...
2
Ignacio María Doñoro
Francisco Veneto
The military chaplain who pretended to be a criminal to rescue a ...
3
HIDILYN DIAZ
Cerith Gardiner
Gold-winning Filipina Olympian shares her Miraculous Medal for th...
4
JEDZENIE
Theresa Civantos Barber
The one thing we all should do before this summer ends
5
Zelda Caldwell
German women’s gymnastics teams modest dress protests sport’s ...
6
CARLO ACUTIS
Violeta Tejera
Carlo Acutis’ first stained glass window in jeans and sneak...
7
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.