Telling a Story of Peace and Justice
On April 1, 2011, Sisters Ellen Leonard, Jean Leahy and Theresa Rodgerswelcomed Sr. Clare Garcillano into their home. Sr. Clare, a Sister of St. Paul of Chartres, came here as a Development and Peace Solidarity Visitor from Timor Leste (East Timor), the world's newest nation (2002). It is found between Australia and Indonesia.
While here Sr. Clare spoke at many churches, schools and other places in Toronto, Peterborough and Kingston about the work of the Commission of Justice and Peace. She is its acting director, along with Luke Stocking, the Development and Peace animator for this region.
The Commission works on many projects for the people of East Timor. It reaches out to youth (15 -28 years) who are unschooled and unemployed. Sixty percent of the population are young people. It reaches out to youth who are still traumatized as a result of the brutality of the Indonesian occupation. Retreats and workshops on non-violence help to counteract feelings and actions of violence when conflicts arise.
The Commission reaches out to children who are deprived of their rights to education, proper homes and decent meals. It reaches out to sexually abused women, young men and women who are victims of domestic violence, men physically and mentally abused, and those suffering discrimination because of lack of education.
The Commission gives education and training to those who work with them so that the Timorese people may be healed, developing themselves as free persons living in a culture of harmony and peace within their families, communities and society.
Sr. Clare travelled 21 hours by plane to bring the greetings and gratitude of the staff of the Commission of Justice and Peace and the beneficiaries of their projects, which are so strongly supported by Development and Peace. She stated that with the continued support of their Canadian friends, the Catholic Organization of Development and Peace, the Commission, together with their Timorese brothers and sisters, will be able to reach their goals.
By Jean Leahy CSJ