10 May, 2016
21 April, 2016
Felix is an orphan from Sudan who has lived at Mercy House for 5 years. He came to South Africa in 2008 and took to selling ice-creams on the street, then set up a small street stall in Pretoria. In 2011 he found his way to Mercy House, where he asked Diana for help to study medicine. This did not seem possible at the time. Felix made a deep impression, even the first time he came to us. His remarkable enthusiasm and belief in life radiated in his smile. Even though his dream seemed impossible, he never gave up on that. We introduced him to (now) Dr Emmanuel Taban, whom we had assisted with schooling and who, through the mediation of Comboni Father Jo Sandri, had been able to gain a medical degree and went on to become what he is now, a specialist physician, with his own practise. Dr Emmanuel decided to give something back: he assisted Felix with finance for a large part of his studies, not for medicine but for a degree in Biomedical Science at the University of Johannesburg. The balance of monies needed was donated by Mercy House and also gained through Felix’ s tireless searching for, and getting, part time jobs along the way.
Felix is currently completing his Master of Science Degree in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. On the 11 April 2016, he even started his first job with H3Africa Initiative at the Sydney Brenner Institute of Molecular Bioscience, an organization based in Johannesburg which does research on key health issues in Africa under the National Institute of Health (NIH), funded from the United States of America. Better still, his new employer has offered him a scholarship to do his doctorate (PHD), after one year of work. His employer must have been impressed with him, since, even in his very first week of work, Felix was booked to attend a conference in Senegal from 11 to 26 May 2016 in the field of the research work which he will be doing.
Mercy House is proud to have contributed to Felix’s amazing achievement, certainly due to his unbelievable determination to get to the goal of his life. His story really does prove that dreams can come true and we wish him well.
Felix has this to say to all who have helped him on his path:
First and foremost, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to T. Diana Beamish, of Mercy House, for everything she has done for me from day one till today. Indeed without Mercy House, everything would have been impossible. For all this, I am very grateful. May God bless Mercy House. Secondly, my sincere thanks go to Dr Emmanuel and family for their tireless financial support. Dr Emmanuel, you are a brother. May God bless you. Thanks also to Lawyer Neels Coertse for invaluable legal assistance with documentation. Lastly, I want to thank Mrs Gordon-Grant who has faithfully every week brought sandwiches for the students, St Richard’s Church in England who supported me financially and Saint Augustine’s Church for their support. I am grateful and will remember you all.
We restarted our English for Refugees classes at the Catholic Cathedral in mid- January this year. 15 students attended and received their certificates on 29 March.
We were anxious as to whether we would have any students for the second course, which began on 11 April. To our total amazement no less than 50 students enrolled this time! We have never had anything like this number before! The group has been divided into Beginners and Advanced and some have been rescheduled for Course 3 which will begin in July. The writing is on the wall that this project is both needed and blessed and we thank our Comboni Father Jeremias who managed to obtain funding for us for the work to continue, at least for one more year.
Easter was once again a celebration of great joy with many children and adults participating. Our thanks to Caltex for allowing us again a visit from the Easter Bunny and to the group of 4 young people who provided a most entertaining afternoon for all. See photos of bunny and children catching Easter eggs raining down from the garage roof!
This very vibrant group of young people once again provided us with a delicious lunch and fun, when they visited Mercy House during Lent. In the photo you see Marina who subsequently did a project for her university studies with Yuri, one of our Mercy House children.
Zeng attended a course in graphic design at Vega College last year and is currently waiting to start a further course in July of this year.
Part of his credentials was to make a short video clip about a subject of his choice. Please view his amazing, short video below, on the subject of Xenophobia.
After that is the match stick video which he created when he was only 15 years old in Grade 10, and for which he won a national award.
19 February, 2016
"Fr. Andrew and special guests presented a concert of sacred, secular and seasonal music on the 19th December 2015 at St. Richard's School Hall. The School Hall was packed with very excited Parishioners and guests. Fr. Andrew's 50th Birthday celebrations were combined with a stunning evening of musical renditions of the highest caliber. A Retiring Collection was taken for Mercy House and Friends of the Children in Romania rev. Lane's charity and a staggering total of £1700 was collected for sharing between both charities. We all remain extremely grateful to Fr. Andrew for all the work he put into performing such a diverse array of music that enchanted all who came to listen. A very special thank-you to all his guests
Above picture is Fr. Andrew on the occasion of his 50th birthday and on top are all the guests with music sheets ready to sing their hearts out! Below is a list of all the music that was performed on the night. A delight of sacred, secular and seasonal music.
15 January, 2016
On 14 January 2016 all our school children went back to school. In one way or another and to different degrees, Mercy House supports around 20 young people with their studies. There are those at school plus the tertiary students of Mercy House: Felix doing his Masters Degree in medical research, a student is doing nursing, Zeng is doing a degree in Graphic Design, Angelo is doing a course in civil engineering, Robert is doing a degree in Chemical engineering, 2 of our newcomers are doing the English for Refugees course and so on. Education is always our main focus, since our aim is to get our young people onto their feet in life. We thank those benefactors who help us in this field, so generously. Every- one can help Mercy House in some way, and some people choose to support our education programme.
From mid- September 2015 the unbelievable happened, we actually managed to vacate our house completely. Our young people thought it great fun to move out to our play center at the bottom of our garden and camp there while the interior of the house was being totally revamped over a period of 6 weeks. It all happened under the guidance of our co-worker Michael Jacobus. The change has been simply stunning. We never imagined that our house could look so beautiful. The photos give some idea of the transformation. The most stunning of all is the revamped kitchen. The whole event proved to bring an injection of joy and pride into our community, and we thank our benefactors, those who made this possible, very much indeed for this great gift, and Michael for seeing it through.
With Father Jeremias no longer with us, Comboni Father Mariano came to offer Holy Mass for us on 16 December. It is so important that we, as a community, pray together and it was, as always, a beautiful occasion. We thank Father Mariano for this very much. He is seen in the photos which were taken on the occasion.
Every year, led by Gus Wilcox, the SVDP of Bez Valley gives our young people a braai to celebrate their end of the year holiday. It is always a huge success and we thank them very sincerely for this generosity, which gives a great deal of joy to all.
On 13 December we held our farewell luncheon for Clare, our young volunteer from Italy. Our Mercy House women had the brilliant idea of making a farewell gift for her themselves, in the form of a dress, bag, ear rings and bracelet, made of exactly the same material, as can be seen in the photos. Clare was delighted. We really enjoyed having her, she was a great asset to our work and hope that she will come back. Whatever, we wish her everything of the best for her future, may God bless her, as she certainly deserves.
And what a beautiful celebration it was. The joy, as always, was tangible, with around 60 refugees – of all ages - there altogether. Thanks to the generosity of our friend Anna of Ocean Basket, we had a delicious lunch, followed by a nativity play of quality, prepared and produced by two of our young men, Ivan and Zeng.Next, some of our young Rwandan ladies entertained us with Rwandan cultural dancing – see photo. This was followed by the arrival of Father Xmas (a seven- year-old boy) and his adult assistant, Desire. Everyone got a gift, selected and prepared for them personally. They were delighted with the “Xmas boxes” which are supplied every year for them by the Rosebank Union Church, to whom we certainly owe a great debt of gratitude. Christmas 2015 was a day which will be remembered by all. Our thanks to everyone who contributed in some way to the joy of the feast.
04 October, 2015
One of the stories that has fascinated me from my youth was the story of the Russian Pilgrim, in English, “The Way of a Pilgrim”. It presents our inner journey as a pilgrimage with God, who is made present through constant prayer. The pilgrim has only three things in his bag: the bible, a bread roll and a book with the teachings of some spiritual leaders.
Looking at our personal life as a pilgrimage, from both an interior and exterior perspective, has a powerful effect on the way we live and relate to one another and to nature. It helps to create in us an attitude of humility, gratitude and dependence on God, who sustains our being and acting from within.
In line with the encyclical letter of Pope Francis, “Laudato Si”, this pilgrimage is not only made with people, but with the whole creation, realizing that we are in communion with God and all that he has created: “We need to strengthen the conviction that we are one single human family. There are no frontiers or barriers, political or social, behind which we can hide, still less is there room for the globalisation of indifference.” (LS 52) In personally addressing the United Nations, our Holy Father appealed to the whole of humanity to act with urgency, not only to establish global peace, but to respect our God-given environment and take strong action to prevent its destruction.
The life of Mercy House can be compared with a swiftly flowing river: always surging forward, always fresh, always new. The items below can show our readers some examples of this.