Lent, Nonviolence

Lent 2017: Reflection for the Second Sunday of Lent, March 12 – Sharing the hardship of the Gospel

by Pat Gaffney
General Secretary, Pax Christi UK

Genesis 12:1-4a | 2 Timothy 1:8b-10 | Matthew 17:1-9

On 18 March, in Bolzano Cathedral, Italy, another ‘Blessed’ will be added to the community of women and men who have witnessed to Gospel nonviolence: Josef Mayr-Nusser, born in the  Austrian Tyrol in 1910. A family man, his faith was informed by the founder of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Frederic Ozanam, a movement in which he showed faithful service, and by his association with the Catholic Action movement. Following the accord between Hitler and Mussolini in 1939, he chose to stay in Italy, unable to associate with Hitler’s project which he deemed incompatible with the Gospel. He was conscripted into the SS in 1944 when South Tyrol came under Nazi control. Unable in conscience to take the oath of loyalty to Hitler, he was arrested, imprisoned and eventually sentenced to death for undermining military morale. He was transported to Dachau where he was to be shot, but with failing health and weakness, he died on 24 February in the cattle wagon transporting him to Dachau.

Almost fifty years earlier, these words were written on the walls of Richmond Castle, Yorkshire, England (used as a prison), by a conscientious objector of the First World War: “Then said Jesus to his disciples, ‘If any man will come after me, let  him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’” The ‘crucifixion’ was a punishment given to some of these COs in the field in France. They were placed against posts with arms outstretched and wrists tied to cross beams. Here they would stay, in all forms of weather, for hours at a time. [Excerpted from The Way of the Cross: Reflections Drawn from the First World War Conscientious Objectors, a Pax Christi UK publication.]

Timothy’s letter today speaks of ‘sharing the hardship of the Gospel’. We can only hope, looking back at these brave people, that in their harsh sharing, in their witness to peace and Gospel nonviolence, they also experienced the strength that comes from God.

Pat Gaffney is General Secretary of the British section of Pax Christi.

Refugee Stories, Young Peace Journalists

Young Peace Journalists: When the war is a way to distract people

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The following interview was done by Viktoriia Stepanets, a member of the Young Peace Journalists. It is the latest entry in the Young Peace Journalists project featuring the stories and voices of refugees. 

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Vjacheslav came from Lugansk to Kiev in 2014 and received Internally Displaced Person status. Today he lives in Kiev and is a chief editor in the Informator.media online edition, which highlights the news of Lugansk and the Lugansk region. Vjacheslav shared his view about the relationship between Russia and Ukraine, the present and future of Ukraine, and also expressed his opinion on the decommunization process in Ukraine. [Editor’s note: “Decommunization process” means to take down monuments which are connected with the Soviet Union, to rename streets and cities named after the Russian or Soviet Union heroes.]

How would you describe the situation in Ukraine?

“Everything is bad, everything should be remade”, – I often say these words to the journalists which work on my issue. And today I say the same words to Ukraine. A lot of people make an effort to present the situation in Ukraine as a civil war, where one nation kills itself. It is a manipulation of the citizens’ consciousness. This is not about the internal conflict in the country, but it is about the aggression of one country to another. The situation we observe today is a result of a carefully planned operation. Everything has been prepared for a long time with the help of the local elites.

To what position do the citizens of Lugansk and the Lugansk region adhere? In the case that the referendum on self-determination of Lugansk and the Lugansk region is held, what decision would be taken?

It is very difficult to determine the position of this region. Different opinions on this question depend exclusively on the particular person’s surrounding, and this person can be misled that it is the opinion of the majority. In fact, everything is a bit more complicated. There is no sense to hold the referendum today because everybody is under the power of propaganda, from the Ukrainian and the Russian sides.

I have a question to you as a chief editor. What criteria do you follow to present the information, especially during the period of war, as objectively as possible?

It is very a difficult and painful issue. The journalists do not know how to behave themselves in this war period. One of the principles of objectivity is a necessity to provide the information from different sides, to present the points of view of different parties. But this means to give the word to the terrorists too, and we realize what they can tell about. Also a problem is in writing about military events directly from the places of their development. By having a conversation with the witnesses, by publishing their comments, the media endangers them. Generally, these people are caught in such occasions. Often in such situations the representatives of the media claim that they did not ask anybody to tell anything, and that means that the arrested person is a spy. Thus he is captured, and the more he begins “to make noise”, the more “expensive” he becomes.

Being a chief editor I strictly forbid my journalists to make photos of the places of military events. I suppose that the safety of the journalists is paramount. In such situations I have to be content with the facts the journalists inform by telephone or email without providing any video or photos to confirm their words. When the journalist informed us that during a half an hour in the direction to Lugansk heavy machinery goes, most likely tanks, we published this way: In the direction to Lugansk the heavy machinery goes, probably, tanks. Undoubtedly, it violates the law of information, but when it is a question of life and death, the rules of a game should be changed.

How do you see the solution of the Ukrainian conflict?

It is necessary to switch off the television – and the empire will collapse. The war is not for territory or placement of the military bases. The war helps to keep people in obedience, to enhance the reputation of some representatives of the authorities. Not the United States of America nor Europe has to solve our problems. We must rely on our own strength. But it has to be taken into account that the interests of the Ukrainian people and Ukrainian authorities are not the same. While Ukrainians want to stop the war and to live peacefully, the Ukrainian government aggravates the situation. The war is an effective way to distract people from pressing issues, non-responsibility of the authorities to their obligations, not implementing numerous reforms that the government promised. The escalation of the conflict is favorable to the authorities of the country and it explains a lot. I would say it explains everything. If the war had not begun, it would have been a continuation of the Maidan. [Eeditor’s note: Maidan means the beginning of the revolution in Ukraine, in 2013, when people revolted against the President Viktor Yanukovich.] A military ardor of the people would be directed to the Ukrainian government. It could not be allowed.

What is your attitude to the decommunization process in Ukraine? Particularly, do you suppose that the decision to take down a lot of monuments of Lenin in the Ukraine to be effective?

The decommunization process was necessary in Ukraine. Perhaps it was not the best time for that: taking down the monuments of Lenin, renaming of numerous streets and cities while there were a lot of problems in Ukraine which required a deep intervention and prompt solutions. But we have to realize that Ukraine has to be freed from the Soviet past. It is only formal that Ukraine is sovereign from 1991. In fact, the fight for independence began from Maidan, and decommunization is a part of this struggle.

Don’t you think that such a fight against the Soviet past by vandalism only intensifies a hatred among the people?

Yes, intensifies, and moreover, wound a lot of people for whom Lenin is still a hero. Personally for me, these monuments are not an historical or cultural value. Therefore, the taking down of Lenin’s monument does not hurt me. I suppose it would be better to collect the monuments of the controversial heroes in one place, for instance, in the special park. But it requires much financing. And money, as always, is not enough. My conclusion: the decommunization process began to be implemented at the wrong time, but everything that has been done had to be done.

Today we observe that there is being built a high wall between Ukraine and Russia. Do you suppose this way is correct? How do you see the development of the relationship between Russia and Ukraine in the near future?

I consider that Russian troops must be withdrawn from the territory of Ukraine. About the development of the relationship between Russia and Ukraine, I am convinced that the decision to break all ties and to build a fence even higher is a way to nowhere. The world has to be without borders, especially in the 21st century. We have to be able to know what happens in Russia, Europe, the United States, and they have to realize what situation is in Ukraine. We have to travel around the world and gain experience from each other, to interact and build strong international relationships. And even if one country is at war with another country, it needs to be understood all the reasons of this conflict, and not to make only one side guilty in all that happens. We do not need to fence ourselves off from each other; rather we have to find a compromise for the benefit of our country. Another issue is that media manipulation imposes us different information, and it is impossible to find the truth. People have to travel, speak with witnesses, analyze. And we, journalists, have to state the facts and speak about different issues, not only about what we want or what is advantageous.

How do you see the future of Ukraine?

I am a sad optimist: I observe that we began to build a civil society, and, as a result, we will have built it. And even if we have to go through all these difficulties, I believe we will cope with it and prove to everybody, first of all ourselves, that Ukraine is a strong, worthy and self-respecting country.

Viktoriia Stepanets is a journalist born in Kiev, Ukraine. She studied multimedia journalism in the High School of Economy in Moscow, Russia. Viktoriia took part in various projects related to peacebuilding, including LofC Caux and Peace Tour around Ukraine. Now she works as a journalist in the cultural sphere and participates in the Young Peace Journalists project trying to learn more about the situation of internally displaced persons in her country and refugees in the larger world.  

Lent, Nonviolence

Lent 2017: Reflection for the First Sunday of Lent, March 5 – From revenge to reconciliation

by Moses Sichei Sakong, with Martha Okumu
Peace Tree Network

Genesis 2:7-9, 3:1-7 | Romans 5:12-19 | Matthew 4:1-11

ashwednesdayclipMy name is Moses Sichei Sakong from the Mt. Elgon region in Bungoma County in Kenya. I was born on the 6th of June, 1987 into a Sabaot family and I have ten siblings of which I am the second born.

During my childhood, I had never experienced violent conflict, but by 2004, there were warning signs of the coming violence. The Ndorobo people, who were our neighbours, came and burnt down our houses and granaries. By the time I was in secondary school, life had become tough for me as we had lost all our possessions as a family. I started asking myself a lot of questions and developed a negative attitude towards the Ndorobo community.

From 2005 to 2007, the third phase of land redistribution by the government of Kenya in the Mt. Elgon region was underway. It was then that the land conflict escalated and violent clashes started to occur with militia groups being formed. The Sabaot Land Defence Force was formed with the aim of protecting the land interests of its community from the perceived injustice in the resettlement process. The group received support from politicians as membership was drawn from among the youth. It was at this time that I had a desire to join the militia group but my mother refused.

With the escalation of violent conflict between the Soy and Mosop — of which I am a Soy — there was a lot of killings, torture and destruction of property. I lost many relatives including brothers, cousins, uncles and close friends, and it was then that we became internally displaced.

Everyone in my family ran to safety. I and my elder brother went together but on the way we almost got killed as there were gunshots everywhere and we frequently faced death. It is only through God’s will that we made it. I experienced a tough life of slavery; eating was a problem, and this affected me psychologically, physically, emotionally, socially; my education was disrupted.

After the ethnic conflict of 2008, I became aware of the work of Peace Tree Network (PTN) and I started participating in their work in 2009 centered on peace-building. PTN has played a big role in my life by transforming my outlook through their seminars, trainings, and exchange programs, and I now live life in a positive way. For instance, during the conflict period, my heart was filled with revenge for losing my relatives and I did not want to socialise with the Ndorobo group, but through the teachings and skills learnt, it has brought about healing and reconciliation in my life and changed my negative thinking of revenge towards positive living with all people, especially the ones I viewed as my enemies.

I have also discovered my career path for counseling psychology which I am currently pursuing. I have become a peace ambassador and engaged in a reconciliation process in my community through the use of mediation and forgiveness and through that I have learnt the importance of maintaining peace. I educate the youth against engaging in violence and being misused by leaders for their personal gain.

With these skills that I have, I live positively, not a life of hopelessness and negativity, and I am very thankful to be here and to be a testimony of a positive peaceful existence.

Lent, Nonviolence, Peace Spirituality

Lent 2017: Reflection for Ash Wednesday – Proclaim a fast!

by Marie Dennis
Pax Christi International Co-President

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Joel 2:12-18 | 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2 | Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

“Even now says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning: Rend your hearts, not your garments and return to the Lord, your God.” (Joel 2: 12)

Deep in many religious traditions, including in our own Christian faith, is a recognition of prayer and fasting as essential dimensions of spiritual practice. Particularly appropriate in the face of intractable evil or as an expression of repentance, fasting also carries social and political weight – all of which seem particularly important this year.

As Lent begins, we are intensely aware of the pervasive violence that Pope Francis calls “a third world war in installments”: hate speech, racism, Islamophobia, gang violence, anti-immigrant laws and practices, trafficking in humans and weapons, gender violence and sexual abuse, ill treatment of refugees, environmental and ecological destruction, militarism, war, apathy in the face of the tremendous human suffering we have seen in Aleppo, South Sudan and elsewhere, and on and on.

It is right and timely, then, that we proclaim a fast! Perhaps the most urgent need this year is to fast from violence — to join the vibrant, nonviolent resistance to these and so many other expressions of violence.

As we fast, can we in fact learn to “do” peace – not a peace synonymous with my feeling good or with any one nation’s security but something much deeper than that – an integral well-being that embraces all human beings and the rest of creation – a peace that preempts every inclination to violence and war – a new paradigm rooted in an unwavering commitment to nonviolence and to the value of every life?

A fast from violence might help us grapple with our own fear and insecurity, accepting a challenge to live with vulnerability in a world where a majority of people are always vulnerable. A fast from violence might help us reset our priorities from the accumulation of power, wealth and consumer goods to nurturing right relationships with other people and the rest of creation; move from individualism to emphasize community – ultimately the global community; learn to be present, to listen, to wait – to relinquish our need for instant gratification; and reexamine our symbols and myths to strip them of their ability to isolate and blind us.

A commitment to nonviolence is an act of hope. It requires careful theological reflection on the values of our faith tradition in specific situations of violent conflict and war. It requires presence, accompaniment and the nurturing of relationships across boundaries – boundaries between countries and cultures, even neighborhoods. It requires the creation and application of a moral framework and ethical tools for promoting peace in our daily encounters with violence. It requires vigorous spiritual exercises and creative liturgical expression.

Perhaps our fast in this holy season will move us to make or renew a vow of nonviolence:

Recognizing the violence in my own heart, yet trusting in the goodness and mercy of God, I vow for one year to practice the nonviolence of Jesus who taught us in the Sermon on the Mount:

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons and daughters of God…You have learned how it was said, ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy’; but I say to you, Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. In this way, you will be daughters and sons of your Creator in heaven.”

Before God the Creator and the Sanctifying Spirit, I vow to carry out in my life the love and example of Jesus

  • by striving for peace within myself and seeking to be a peacemaker in my daily life;
  • by accepting suffering rather than inflicting it;
  • by refusing to retaliate in the face of provocation and violence;
  • by persevering in nonviolence of tongue and heart;
  • by living conscientiously and simply so that I do not deprive others of the means to live;
  • by actively resisting evil and working nonviolently to abolish war and the causes of war from my own heart and from the face of the earth.

God, I trust in Your sustaining love and believe that just as You gave me the grace and desire to offer this, so You will also bestow abundant grace to fulfill it. (Pax Christi USA)

Our Stories

OUR STORY: Pax Christi UK

This is the third installment of a regular feature on the Peace Stories blog featuring the stories of our 120 member organisations on five continents around the world. For March 2017, we’re getting to know Pax Christi UK. This interview was conducted by Marie Just, Pax Christi International communications intern, with Pat Gaffney. Gaffney is the General Secretary of Pax Christi UK.

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Marie Just: When and how did Pax Christi UK start? Was there some particular event or issue that served to bring Pax Christi UK into being?

Pat Gaffney: In 1958 a small group started meeting in London to discuss Church teaching on peace and to promote the international routes, which are marches/pilgrimages across Europe, for peace. The objective was to further peace by fostering international friendship. John Geary, a young man who had taken part in Pax Christi International routes in Germany, Italy and France, inspired these activities. The first issue of a news bulletin was published in 1961 and Bruce Kent, then a curate, agreed to act as chaplain. Pax Christi had strong links with London University and most members were under 30 years of age.

New papal teaching on peace contained in the encyclical Pacem in Terris (1963) and in documents emerging from the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) gave encouragement to Pax Christi’s mission. Issues of contemporary concern which the British group took up included the lack of rights for conscientious objectors in Catholic countries such as Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal, and British arms sales to Nigeria, Biafra, and South Africa. Pax Christi emphasised the value of international exchanges with foreign students visiting London and with young people staying in its summer hostels. Joint retreats and conferences were held with PAX, an older Catholic peace group, and in 1971 a single Catholic peace movement was created when PAX and Pax Christi merged.

MJ: What is the structure and who are the people involved in Pax Christi UK?

PG: We are a membership organisation, we have around 1,500 individual and family members and then we have around 1,500 Catholic parishes who support our work financially through our annual Peace Sunday work. We have an Executive Committee who oversee the management and planning work of Pax Christi. This is made up of nine people who are elected at our Annual General Meeting. They serve for around six years and attend meetings five or six times a year.

We have a staff of four in the office, three full-time and one part time. We have an Editor who works on a free-lance basis and we have volunteers who regularly come to the office to help with administrative work and mail-outs.

MJ: What are the current issues you are working on, or what are your major priorities?

PG: In our campaigning work we are involved in the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty work – representing an on-going commitment to our work on nuclear disarmament. We are part of the Global Days of Action on Military Spending and will be promoting action for April 2017. We are part of Kairos Britain and will be reviewing how best to work in this network and weave in the advocacy opportunities around Israel & Palestine that come from PC International and from the World Week for Peace in Palestine & Israel.

In our nonviolence work, we are deeply involved in and committed to the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative and will be running workshops/seminars and conferences to promote this work within the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

In our on-going Peace Education work we are committed to running workshops and training days in schools around the country. We are also working with others to produce a new nonviolence resource for schools.

We are also undertaking a strategic review of all of our work to plan for changes that are due to impact on the organisation within the next couple of years.

MJ: How is Pax Christi UK putting nonviolence into practice? What role does nonviolence play in your work?

PG: In our nonviolence work, we are deeply involved in and committed to the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative and will be running workshops/seminars – we will be offering four this Spring and in the Autumn we will be hosting Maria Stephan and Marie Dennis on a 2 or 3 city speaking tour.

We produced resource materials on the World Peace Day theme which were sent to every parish in the country and we are encouraging parishes to reflect on the theme and practical suggestions for the whole of the year.

We are setting up a theology/spirituality group on nonviolence to help set some direction to this work.

We will be looking to create some new resources later this year – probably visual resources that help people to better understand what nonviolence is about.

MJ: What is the greatest accomplishment of Pax Christi UK during your history?

PG: I don’t think there is just one!

Our promotion of the World Peace Day message, securing a Peace Sunday in the Catholic Church in England and Wales would be one. It is Pax Christi who have faithfully created resources/reached out each year to parishes to promote the theme. In that time we have seen a massive increase in the take-up of resources and also in the financial contributions that parishes make to Pax Christi as a result.

Work undertaken in the 1970s-80s on Northern Ireland. Pax Christi was a key English partner in many cooperative projects. Pax Christi also played a key role in bringing to the attention of the Church the miscarriages of justice at that time – helping to advocate for those wrongly imprisoned.

Work undertaken in 2002 when Pax Christi initiated a petition/project on the Morality and Legality of War with Iraq which attracted national and international attention and support and raised the debate within the Church and beyond about the prospect of war with Iraq.

MJ: Is there any story about Pax Christi UK that stands out for you?

PG: The experiences created around our International gatherings: councils, World Assemblies, Annual General Meetings. When we come together and begin to appreciate that we are a part of a much bigger, richer movement. These encounters are informative, creative, life-giving and give a really human face to the work of Pax Christi around the globe. The solidarity we develop at such gatherings helps to sustain us when we return home.

I am Pax Christi, Women and Peacemaking

The #IamPaxChristi interview: Teresia Wamuyu Wachira, IBVM, of Kenya

In this latest installment of the #IamPaxChristi interview, we’re profiling Teresia Wamuyu Wachira, a Sister of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (also known as the Loreto Sisters). She is from Kenya and a member of the Pax Christi International Board. This series aims to highlight short conversations with the women and men who make up our movement. The interview was conducted by communications intern Marie Just in December at the Nonviolence in Africa conference in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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Marie Just: How did you become involved with peace and justice work, and what was your first involvement in Pax Christi International??

wamuyu-longTeresia Wamuyu Wachira: I first got involved in peace and justice work at the university in Kenya during my graduate studies. During English literature studies, I took a unit on “Women” and it was during class discussions that I came face-to-face with the stereotypical attitudes towards women – perception of women as ‘second class citizens’ and also the institutionalization of violence against women. I felt called to do something about this.

My first involvement in Pax Christi International was while I was studying my Masters in the UK. Valerie Flessati was my supervisor, and during this time I met Pat Gaffney and the late Fr. Giovanni Schudiero. The way they spoke and dedicated themselves as members of Pax Christi was impressive and this is what influenced me to be a member of Pax Christi.

MJ: During your time with the Loreto Sisters, can you tell us a story about a time that the work of the Loreto Sisters made a real difference in the situation in your country, or in the lives of people there?

TWW: Loreto Sisters are actively involved in education, mainly of girls. In the early 1900s, the Loreto Sisters ran schools for girls at a time when education of girls was not considered a priority. They did this against the African culture at the time that required girls to get married once they were of age and also to bring forth many children. As a result of going against such practices, some of the girls that got an opportunity to go to school are in influential positions in Kenya and across the globe, making a difference in the lives of men and women of our times. One of these girls that has left a legacy is the late Peace Nobel Laureate, Professor Wangari Maathai who has left a legacy of the care of our Mother Earth.

MJ: What does nonviolence mean to you personally and professionally? How would you describe it?

TWW: I believe that human beings are good and ultimately desire peace. When provoked human beings react in a particular way either peacefully or nonviolently. According to me, nonviolence is the way to go. However, this is not usually the first option when one is provoked. The easier and faster way is the way of violence. As a member of Pax Christi, when someone annoys me or acts violently towards me, this gives me an opportunity to practice what I proclaim to others – the way of active nonviolence. This means first looking at the situation, reflecting on it and making a decision on how to respond. Do I want to react in a violent way or do I decide to act nonviolently?

When I am faced with this dilemma – to act violently or nonviolently – it is like I have two things in my hand to choose from: one that will bring life and the other death. Often when faced with this dilemma in my daily life, I try not to fight back; I also try to choose my words carefully so that I will not make a violent situation worse. For instance, instead of blaming the other for the anger I feel, I just express that I am feeling very angry for what has just happened. I make efforts to try and get an opportunity to dialogue and reconcile with the other person as soon as an opportunity avails itself as I value good relationships.

Being a member of Pax Christi has really helped my outlook to life. When provoked, I find myself thinking: “Okay, I might be angry but I don’t want to react immediately.” Thus, as far as I am concerned, nonviolence is really about making choices; it is taking that prophetic step: “standing up and being counted” as one that is walking that ‘road that is less traveled’ – the path of nonviolence.

The more I reflect on what it means to act nonviolently, the more I am convinced that ‘nonviolence is at the core of our being’ – we all have the ability to act in a nonviolent way, but we have to work on it. We have the freedom to choose the nonviolent way which leads to life or the violent way that leads to death. Active nonviolence is therefore choosing the ‘road less traveled’ as it were. I believe that we have to be committed and consciously choose this path. Following this path is therefore not going to be easy; at times it will make us look and feel like a fool, especially among people who do not understand why we are acting this way. I believe that even when I am pushed to the wall, there is an option. The option is not to fight back in a violent manner but as it were ‘to turn the other cheek,’ to dialogue and see my own image in the other.

Therefore, in acting nonviolently, I believe we are following in Christ’s footsteps – Jesus who while crucified on the cross chose the path of forgiveness instead of the path of retaliation and violence.

MJ: How many years have you been part of the Loreto Sisters?

TWW: I joined the Loreto Sisters a long time ago immediately after my high school in 1975. The school was an all girls’ boarding school that was run by the Loreto Sisters. The sisters were very kind and lived an ordinary way of life and this is what attracted me to them and their way of life. I was seventeen years old when I joined the Loreto Sisters. I have already celebrated my Silver Jubilee as a Loreto Sister.

For my Master’s Degree I went to the UK in 1997. It was here that I got attracted to Pax Christi. Then I went back to Kenya, where I was appointed to be a principal of a Loreto girls’ boarding school with over 700 girls. I stayed in this school for four years and then left for the UK in 2007 to pursue a Ph.D. in Peace Studies at the University of Bradford. During this time I was in constant communication with Valerie Flessati and Pat Gaffney.

MJ: When we talk about supporting women, do you have an example of your work, when you focus on women’s issues? Do you have a story that you can share?

TWW: I do not have only one story because I have a passion for working with women. Years back when I was a student in the university, I was attending to women and youth. Today, I make a point of meeting them where they are, especially the women. I meet them in the churches because this is where a lot of women who may not have a lot of money or who are struggling financially gather. When I meet these women, I do not dictate to them what topics to discuss but allow them to select the kind of topics that they are interested in. Most of them are interested in topics that deal with youth.  Currently the discussions and training have been mainly on how to mentor their teenage children, especially with the current challenge of youth radicalization. Another topic is on family relationships, especially considering the breakdown of family values in today’s context. Also the discussions are on issues of violence in the home, especially on gender-based violence, and how to address this without creating a cycle of violence.

Before joining the Pax Christi International Board in 2016, Teresia Wamuyu Wachira was an active member of Pax Christi UK. She has contributed to a workbook for key stage 4, PSHE and Citizenship, and for chaplaincy and retreat work, Peace People who Changed the WorldCurrently, she is a Senior Lecturer in Peace Studies at St. Paul’s University in Nairobi, Kenya.