Yudith Pereira, a Spanish RJM, is currently serving as Associate Executive Director of SOLIDARITY with SOUTH SUDAN, a coalition of religious communities working together to help and support this newest member of the family of nations.
South Sudan gained independence in 2011 after decades of civil war and conflict, conflict which was re-ignited in 2013, and continues today. Shortly after independence, the international unions of men and women religious called on their members to come together and pool resources of finance and personnel to help meet the pressing needs of a beleaguered people. From this, Solidarity with South Sudan was born, a project supported today by over 260 religious communities. Different congregations of both men and women are working together, in five sites in the country, to address needs in health care, education, pastoral care, and agriculture.
In her work as Associate Executive Director, Sr. Yudith does administrative work from her office in Rome, and also visits the communities working in South Sudan. The photo on the left gives you an idea of the diversity of the religious with whom Yudith works. She is pictured at the end of the front row on the right, wearing the green shirt. Yudith has come to the USA twice.
Some years ago, when working in Equatorial Guinea, she gave the “shadow” report on the status of women in that country for a UN commission, at the invitation of UNANIMA. More recently, Yudith was here to meet with Sr. Joan Mumaw, IHM, who established a USA office for the organi-zation. Sr. Margaret Perron is a member of the Board of Directors for Solidarity with South Sudan.
Given below are some of Yudith’s reflections on her ministry:
In my own words, I think Solidarity with South Sudan is a beautiful and concrete antici-pation of the Kingdom, (people) living together in differences, serving those who are most in need. You can breathe joy and simplicity in every community despite the attacks suffered, the insecurity, or any difficulty that diversity may imply. I think all of us, not only in South Sudan, but in the governance level, in administration, or among all the laity involved in development programs, in the fact of doing things together, we are given a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood that no other experience can bring.
Going to South Sudan now, sharing part of the suffering of the people there is a part of our religious vocation that we can’t avoid, despite insecurity, war, or all the concern or suffering this may create for our communities or families. If we are not there, who is going to be? Sometimes I feel, in face of the huge suffering of the people, that the words of Msgr. Romero are the ones we need to find the sense of it: “All suffering is redeeming the rest of humanity.” And we are privileged to share it, and share it together.
For more information about the organization and its work, go to www.solidarityssudan.org.