Missionary women return to Liberia
after their sisters’ brutal killings
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SHORTLY AFTER commemorating the 25th anniversary of the deaths of five of their American missionary sisters in Liberia, the
Adorers of the Blood of Christ reinstated their mission in the West
African country in February 2018.
In October 1992, five sisters from this community were killed by
soldiers during a civil war that left hundreds of thousands dead.
“We remember them as fellow sisters radically committed to
their ministry. Their lives and martyrdom have left an indelible mark
on us,” the community said in a statement.
“We’ve had sisters in Liberia off and on over the last 25 years,
but they’ve worked with other organizations. This will be the first
time since the deaths of our sisters that we have re-established
our official presence there,” the sisters wrote in a blog post on their site.
The Adorers were invited to Liberia in the 1970s by a missionary priest, and a handful of Adorers went there to staff
schools, clinics, and hospitals. Many more went over the ensuing years. “Adorers fell in love with Liberians and the work,
though it was challenging,” say the sisters. But they largely left after the murders. “Liberia always tugged at our hearts. It
was never out of sight in our minds’ eye. It’s inevitable that we’d return some day.”
Couturier says the repair
he does the most is gluing
soles back on.
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cathedral and donates them to a shelter.
Couturier’s mission of mercy started
two decades ago when he worked at the
cathedral. One day, parishioners complained about a foul odor from a homeless
man who would spend his days there. “I
just asked him to come into the basement
and take his shoes off because I had this
idea that that was the origin of the smell,”
Couturier told CBC/Radio Canada. The
man turned out to have gangrene and was
rushed to the hospital.
The incident got Couturier thinking
about the need for footwear among the
destitute. He started asking shoe stores
for castoffs, at first persuading a cobbler
friend to repair them but eventually learning how to fix them himself.
He has continued the repairs for two
decades—now receiving help from the organist at his current parish, Mission Marie-Auxiliatrice in Montreal. He says he does it
for the sense of direct accomplishment. “It
feels good. I do it for myself after all!” he
said in a video produced by Global News.
FOR SOME 20 YEARS, a priest in Montreal has spent his day off quietly
repairing hundreds of shoes so he can give
them to the homeless. According to CBC/
Radio Canada and Global News, Father
Jean-Pierre Couturier spends each Thursday walking a four-mile route to 20 shoe
stores that donate old shoes customers
leave behind. He fixes them in a workshop
he set up in the basement of the Montreal
PRIEST’S HIDDEN MINISTRY PUTS SHOES ON HOMELESS
SISTER ZITA RESCH, A.S.C. is among the first Adorers of the
Blood of Christ to return to Liberia after the community’s
25-year absence there.