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Friday 24 September |
The Blessed Virgin Mary—Our Lady of Walsingham

Fearless Nun: “I Am the Voice of Men who Have No Voice”

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 11/28/15

Remarkable and inspiring, via the BBC:

For more than 17 years, a Catholic nun named Neyda Rojas has been serving God in a place that many describe as hell on earth – a Venezuelan prison.

For decades, penitentiaries here have been criticised by human rights organisations for allowing serious human rights violations to take place behind their walls. Although the government has introduced reforms to improve living conditions, some Venezuelan prisons are still among the most violent and overcrowded in Latin America. None of that has stopped this missionary, who belongs to the Mercedarian Order, help teach inmates some of the basics of life, like literacy. “I’m very happy when they learn to read and write. I can see their excitement. “It also means they can understand what official documents say about them and their trials”, the 52-year-old nun said. “I have always seen the face of God in their faces”, she said on our way to Venezuela’s General Penitentiary (PGV) in Guarico state, a three-hour drive away from the capital Caracas. We accompanied Sister Neyda to one of her workshops after the BBC was granted rare access to the prison. With her charisma and perseverance, Sister Neyda has won the inmates’ trust. It is a very dangerous and unpredictable place where violence is rife, but she walks around unafraid, as if she was untouchable. “I am sure they will never shoot me. God is with me. They will never do anything against me. In fact, they protect me”, she says. Although she acknowledges that many of the inmates have committed serious crimes, she cannot stop seeing them as “God’s children”. “They’ve lost their freedom, but not their dignity. As a Mercedarian missionary who works in a jail, I have to serve them every day.” When I asked her how she felt around the inmates, she touched my arm and told me with a kind smile that they were close to her heart. “Many of them have been abandoned. But they have us. I am the voice of men who have no voice.”

Read more.

Photo: BBC

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