She Persisted – Women who risk it all for justice and peace
Thanks to a post we saw on Upworthy and the Daily Theology, we were moved to write a brief article on some of the women from Voices of Faith who have faced challenges and, nevertheless, persisted. We hope this article encourages you to act now to ensure the inclusion of women at all levels of the peacemaking process to transform the reality of our world and the Church.
Persisted to pursue the “folly of love” in the face of violence
On October 12, 1993, two days after her Tutsi family was murdered by Hutus in Burundi, Marguerite Barankitse stood in front of a house of Hutus to stop a mob of local Tutsis from taking revenge. “Before I am a Tutsi, I am a Christian” Marguerite remembers telling the mob. “I will not allow you to kill those people.” That day, Maggy realized that her mission would be to fight the violence ravaging her country by giving the children who had been orphaned by the civil war, and the 20,000 who would follow an alternative to hate.
Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS
Persisted in fighting for faith-filled justice in an often antagonistic environment in Washington DC
Sister Simone Campbell has served as the Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice since 2004. The group, inspired by Catholic Sisters, has a 40-year track record of lobbying for critical federal programs that support those at the margins and prioritize the common good.
Prior to this, Simone founded the Community Law Center in Oakland, California, where she practiced family law and worked on the needs of the working poor of her county for 18 years.
Dr Scilla Elworthy
Persisted despite opposition for grass roots nonviolent movements, leading the UN to change their way of conducting peace processes
Dr Scilla Elworthy is a distinguished activist for peace and has worked on peace related issues for over 30 years. In 1982 she founded the Oxford Research Group, dedicated to researching defense-decision making and developing an effective dialogue between nuclear weapons policy-makers and their critics. For this work she was nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize and awarded the Niwano Peace Prize.
In 2002 she co-founded Peace Direct to fund, promote and learn from local peace-builders in conflict areas.
Persisted despite personal experience of domestic violence to get a law degree in her 30s and fights for women’s rights in India
It was her own experience with domestic violence that inspired Agnes to become a women’s rights lawyer and co-founder of the Majlis Legal Centre, a legal and cultural resource centre that campaigns for and provides legal representation for women and children.
Since its inception in 1990, Majlis has provided legal services to 50,000 women. Agnes has played an important role in bringing women’s rights to the forefront within the legal system and in contextualizing issues of gender and identity.
Nagham and Shadan
Persisted despite war interrupting their dreams, they continue to foster peace in for Syrian children in exile
Six years ago, twin sisters Nagham and Shadan from Homs, Syria, recent university graduates in English literature with blossoming careers in teaching English at the secondary school and university level, could not have predicted their life’s work and calling: “Let’s help children live in peace with themselves so they can live in peace with others.”
Dr Mirreille Twayigira
Persisted despite growing up in a refugee camp to be top 10 of her host country
Mirielle’s story is one of defying all odds, from her near-death experience in infancy to her graduation in 2016 from medical school at Shandong University in China. Forced to flee her native Rwanda at age 2 when the genocide occurred, she survived in the forests of Rwanda, the DRC, Zambia and Angola for 6 years before reaching the Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi. While it might be an overstatement to say that Mirielle thrived at the camp, she excelled academically and was offered scholarships to attend both secondary school outside the camp in Malawi and also to study medicine in China.