Sister to Sister: statement from conference of African women religious

 The All Africa Conference - Sister to Sister - issued the following statement yesterday, following their meeting at Bronkhortspruit last month. We, 85 Catholic women religious from six countries of Southern Africa (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe), representing 50 women's religious congregations, gathered April 20-25, 2004, in Bronkhortspruit, South Africa. Along with the whole Church and the people of Southern Africa, we are faced by the devastating situation of HIV and AIDS. We therefore came together to address the claims made on us by the AIDS pandemic as it impacts our people and ourselves. We now call ourselves to intensify our response with faith and action. Despite our diverse cultural backgrounds, languages, and experiences, we recognise a common need and a common challenge to care for one another and to effect change. Our own experience of the complex causes and consequences of HIV and AIDS reveals to us the need for deeper compassion within our communities and beyond. We commit ourselves: -To extend the dialogue in our communities, searching for ever deeper awareness and engaging in ever more comprehensive action; - To sustain our mutual empowerment for this mission, by breaking the silences among us, sharing the sources of our hope, and awakening anew to the call given to all of us in this situation; -To expand strategic actions in our religious communities and in our geographical surroundings (parishes, villages, town, countries); -To challenge ourselves and the Church to a deeper understanding of both the problems and possibilities of human sexuality in our contemporary world; -To strengthen our work with our people identifying the positive elements in our cultures and faith traditions, elements that can help to alleviate the scourge of HIV and AIDS, especially as it relates to women; -To affirm the dignity of all people in their needs and choices regarding prevention of HIV/AIDS, testing, treatment, and care; -To increase networking with all others in the churches, governments, families, and like-minded organisations who recognise these same needs and who desire to join with us in this common cause; - To affirm the work of all those, ourselves and others, who are already engaged in this urgent ministry, collaborating with them and mobilising others to do the same. We invite others from across Africa and across the world to join with us in these efforts. In particular, we invite our Sisters here and across the world to stand in solidarity with us - Sister to Sister - in this sacred though tragic time. Signed by all the Sisters Source: Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference

Share this story