I was attending a  First Communion celebration in Malvern in October 2000 when a very small, elderly nun came up to me and asked about Mercy House. She asked if and how she could help. Looking at her age and assuming she would have no transport, I wondered how she would be in a position to do so, since having no wheels would be an insurmountable obstacle… I did not realise what a whirlwind was hitting my life just then and  that I  was embarking on a relationship with a giant personality:
the feisty, fearless FLYING NUN!  
Our beloved Sister Fidelis, faithful as the mountains, which  her name indicates, has worked with tremendous dedication for Mercy House for 10 years. Her tireless and selfless dedication are truly something to marvel at.  She procured a blue car, which one would see whizzing down the street, at a good speed, usually laden with goods for our refugees. Sister also proved to be such a faithful friend, and quite a good disciplinarian amongst our young residents…
At an art exhibition some years ago, I saw a beautiful modern-style stone carving of an angel. I immediately bought it and placed it on a prominent wall in the Mercy House Garden, with the following inscription:    
The Faithful Angel
who keeps constant watch.
Erected as a tribute to Sister Fidelis for her tireless commitment to Mercy House.   
We did not at the time anticipate that she would be leaving us on transfer one day, but the angel will remain there in memory of her great love. Thank you Sister, we will miss you…                                                                                        
Tribute written by Diana Beamish of Mercy House


1. When Mercy House started in 1996, it accommodated 5 Ethiopian doctors who were totally stranded at the time, as they did not have registration with the SA medical council and it took us 2 years to persuade the SA Medical Council to set an exam for them.. They wrote it and all of them are happily working as doctors now, one even in the United States..

2. Through the support and mediation of Mercy House, we have enabled 2 young men, Angolan Martin, and Sudanese, Emmanuel, to get through the SA University Medical training: they are now qualified doctors doing extremely well. Both are now training to be specialists – Emmanuel is becoming a cardiologist and Martin is specialising in gynaecology. Burundian Shadadi, is currently studying to be a Clinical Medical Practitioner at Wits Medical school. Sudanese orphan Felix, is currently doing a 4 year degree at the University of Johannesburg in Medical Research.

3. We have assisted in getting bursaries for 8 refugees to do a Bachelor Degree in Education at KZN college in Kwazulu, 1 who is still studying, the rest qualified and working 5 back in Sudan..

4. We have managed to get bursaries for university degrees in engineering for 5 of our young men, four of whom are already qualified and working in companies. A large number of others have studied engineering at the local Technical College..

5. We have managed to put a large number of children into school: for example Shadadi (Burundi) and Dibaba and Peter (both DRC), Newton, Kenny got bursaries to study at an excellent school private school. John is head boy of his school this year, and Shadadi was a deputy head last year and is already at university.

6. We managed to get bursaries for Peter and Samuel (Sudanese) to do a 2 year course in Accounting. They have since returned to Sudan where they are using their expertise.

7. Four of our young people have done courses in home nursing which enabled them to get work and two others are currently third year nursing training..

8. Several of our young people enrolled to do a 3 year film making course. Emmanuel did it and is now employed as Post Production Assistant by a highly reputable film company Videovision Entertainment (The Biggest Film Company in Africa).

9. We have enabled a number of refugees to do Information Technology courses at the local Technical College. .

10. One of our young men has graduated with a law degree. He had come to us with only 1 small plastic bag at the time of the genocide, in 1996, we assisted him to fulfill his dream.

11. Over the 12 years of our existence, we have enabled countless people to get employment, quite an achievement when in a country where the unemployment is very high and where there is also a lot of Xenophobia.

12. We have been able to set up several individuals and families with businesses that enable them survive.

13. By far the greatest achievement of Mercy House has been the healing and transformation that we see. Young people come to us, desperate, their lives in tatters, and through creating a family atmosphere (which, mostly, they have sadly missed) and through the healing power of unconditional love, they really do become new human beings! The message is quite clear: no amount of counselling. psychotherapy etc is as powerful as the healing power of love. This is what has made Mercy House so successful and God is with us!.