Ethiopia is a country perhaps most well-known for the suffering it has experienced through intense famine and desperate poverty. Amongst these ongoing challenges, missionaries are bringing communities together to build hope for a better future.

Maria is a Spanish lay missionary from the Community of St Paul and is the Director of the Kidist Mariam Centre (meaning ‘Blessed Mary Centre’) in Meki. This very large population is in a rural area, and the people survive by working the land and rearing cattle.

As a result, many women have to look overseas for work. But often, this leaves them in vulnerable situations where they are exploited and suffer abuse far away from home.

Maria works with an amazing local team to provide a safe, supportive, and educational environment for vulnerable women, so they no longer have to leave their families and communities to find work.

Motivated by hope

Maria believes ‘all should have access to the same opportunities to thrive’. She wants to provide the people of Meki with the chance to turn their dreams into a reality. She and a dedicated local team are making this possible through the Kidist Mariam Centre. Maria respects everyone who comes to the Centre hoping for the opportunity to learn new skills.

She also hopes that through them, they will reach out to other vulnerable people in need of support:

‘For me, every person in the Centre is unique… every person is full of joy, full of hopes. And my dream is to see all of them, not only the ones coming here, but even the ones they are inviting; every person coming to the Centre to feel happy and to feel they are doing their best’.

In her own words

Watch this short film to learn more about Maria and her team, and the opportunities they provide:

Maria is just one of many selfless missionaries throughout the world, who live amongst and serve some of the most vulnerable communities in our society. Through your generosity and prayers on World Mission Sunday, people like Maria can keep loving, serving and sharing God’s hope with others:

‘All of us are children of God. And we are all equal. It doesn’t matter where we come from, where we live, where we are working… we are God’s dream, and we have to fulfil that dream… So, we have to do our best not only to live out our dream, but also to make real the dreams of so many other people and so many other young women’.

Maria’s faith, perseverance and dedication to the local people are inspired by her love of Mary:

‘Being a woman, a very humble woman, being the mother of God, and also being a very good inspiration for the disciples… she inspires me. I hope she also will inspire all the women and all the staff, everybody who comes to the Centre to see her as an example of a woman able to transform her life… She’s the best inspiration we can have in the Centre’.

Join us for World Mission Sunday 2022

Every Catholic community in the world celebrates World Mission Sunday! It’s a moment of grace to express solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Christ who are living in situations of poverty, violence and oppression. Every parish, school and community can join this special event. And every penny, pound and prayer you give to Missio helps missionaries everywhere continue their work.