In 1960, four Sisters of the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy of St Vincent de Paul in Untermarchtal set out to serve Christ through their neighbours in the southwest of Tanzania, in line with their spiritual calling. The spark of Vincentian spirituality spread to local young women in Tanzania and today, 240 Tanzanian Vincentian women follow Vincent and Louise in their social-charitable service across 25 locations.
For example, at the St. Monica Vocational Training Center in Mbinga young women have the opportunity to complete an apprenticeship and acquire skills that will later help them to manage a family. Importantly, by attending the vocational boarding school, the girls are also protected from violence and unwanted early pregnancies or marriage. Another example is the Health Center in Maguu. Apart from general outpatient treatment and minor operations, the Sisters there have a strong focus on helping women in the maternity ward.
In addition to such projects in the areas of education, training and health, the Sisters also support homeless people. The soup kitchen of Bethanien in the regional house in Mbinga is managed by Sr. Felista and provides a warm lunch and clothing to those in need every day. It is a first point of contact for the poor and homeless, where they are listened to and their needs are addressed as well as possible. Very often, the House of Bethanien welcomes elderly people with no relatives. In Tanzania, it is normally the family that cares for older family members; but if they have no one left, they find themselves on their own, often impoverished and homeless. Time and again, the House of Bethanien is the only place where they receive loving care. And so this is a place, in which people without a home, can feel at home.
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