Mercy House Update: May 2014

A wise man said: “There is so much suffering in the world; we should do whatever we can to spread joy.”

The more we open our eyes to the suffering of people around us, especially those less privileged than ourselves, the more we realise the need for the healing power of joy.  Did you ever see a photo of a child soldier, or the homeless kids at our city robots or the men pushing trolleys loaded with cardboard or metal for kilometres in the city, with joy on their faces? Highly unlikely.  All the more challenge to us, to try to bring joy into people’s lives.  You cannot give what you do not have within yourself.  We should pray for the grace of joy in our own hearts, but that is not enough: we have an obligation to find ways to give joy to others.  We should not let even one day go by, without enkindling that joy somewhere, without pursuing the goal of “faces with a smile.”
Easter is a time for joy!  Imagine the incredulous joy on the faces of the disciples when they discovered and realised that Our Lord was no longer in the tomb that He really had risen, as He said He would. Take note of the joy of the women who had found the empty tomb: “Filled with awe and great joy, the women came quickly away from the tomb and ran to tell the disciples (Mt 28,8).”   Imagine the joy of His Mother, who had carried Him in her womb, adored Him as a child, seen his miracles but also the horrors of His crucifixion and seen Him sealed in a tomb… 
MERCY HOUSE is well aware of the sorrows of the young people we serve. We have orphans, and other young people who have suffered huge psychological scars, having witnessed unspeakable, undreamed-of things.  All the more need for us to give them as much joy as possible. And this is something that people ALWAYS comment on after visiting Mercy House: the pervading atmosphere of peace and joy.  To this end we do have lovely celebrations on feast days like Christmas and Easter, but also have our outings to the park. We thank all those who support these events and provide delicious food and so on.  The photos below show some of the joy at such events held on Easter Sunday and at our picnic at the park on 28 April.
Our children catching Easter eggs thrown down from the roof by the Easter bunnies.

Father Jeremias consulting the 2 Easter bunnies as to where they hide out during the year till next Easter…
Emmanuel, our website designer and organiser of our celebrations with his baby girl, Benita, at the park. 
Keiko having a great time at our picnic-at-the-park

Father John with Diana and David at braai time at the park.


We are so proud of our young people!
Our Felix, orphan from Sudan, did us proud again this year, heaping up more awards. This time, in March, he received two awards:
Best overall student for the past 3 years and
Best Micro-biology student.
On 11 June, Felix will graduate with a Diploma in Medical Research from The University of Johannesburg and next year he will complete his 4 year degree.
In March Meshack graduated with an Honours degree in Implementation of Information Technology in Schools. 
Saturday 10 May saw two of our students, Norbert and Gregory (see the photo below), performing in a concert given by the Music Enlightenment Project, in the Braamfontein Recreation Centre. 
This project endeavours to engage inner-city kids with developing their music skills, teaching them to play an instrument in a classical orchestra and giving them a love for the same.


Of course one of our main aims is to assist our people to get onto their feet in life, be they children or adults.  Giving them education of some form of skills-based training is the implementation of this. This has led us to embark on our

Handcraft Project

We are helping the Mercy House ladies to start a handcraft project, so that they may be able to become self-supporting.  They are making bags, table mats, aprons, jewellery some of which are seen in the photos below.

We also have assisted Papa Zeng to get an industrial machine that will enable him to put his amazing skills into practise and get onto his feet in life so that he can support his family. The photos below show some of his work – bags and hats to match!

If any of our readers knows of an outlet for these beautiful goods please do contact us.  We are trying to get some of these to the UK where St Richards will hold a mid-year fund-raiser for us, and they would like to have some of our crafts to sell.  So, we are also looking for someone who may be going to the UK fairly soon, who might be able to take a small parcel over to this end.


John Kashindi is an orphan from the DRC who was placed with us at the age of 8 – see photo of him at that time with Sister Fidelis.  
He has been with Mercy House for 13 years.  We put him into school, where he honoured himself by being chosen as head boy, see photo below.  
John trained as a baker/ caterer and is now working in the bakery of Waterfall Retirement Estate.  John is loved by all, especially as he is very caring person, and proves it by his deeds of kindness. To our surprise he has decided to move out into a private room, fortunately very near Mercy House. We are so thrilled to see that one of youngsters, whom we watched grow from a boy into a man, has turned out to be a genuinely good person, a very strong character and an asset to the community. We wish him well. John is seen in the photo below moving his belongings on 5 May.


We found Emily living on a stoep at the back of a house in Troyville. Her dad died some years back and her mother died 18 months ago, leaving her, as the oldest in the family, to look after a family of 6!  Since she has to look after the family she cannot work. She is always short of food and other basic needs.  Emily asked if we could find some second-hand shoes for her family for Winter.  We advertised in some parishes are immensely grateful to those who responded with donations for her, which will not only cover shoes, but also school fees for her brother and sister.  On Monday, 5 May, we took them shopping to buy the shoes.   For little Razak (4 years old), the shopping centre was a completely new experience and he was running around madly. It was a great joy for them to buy brand new shoes.  The joy on Razak’s face, seen in the photo below, says it all. 
Emily, seen in the second photo was also deeply grateful. We thank those who, through their donations helped us to help them. May you be rewarded and blessed. 

Diesco, Danny and Zeng at the Lion Park

One Saturday in May Mrs Rosemary Benjamin, one of our co-workers, gave some of our boys a real treat: she took them to the Lion Park.  They were amazed that they were able to come into close contact with the wild animals, even playing with the lion cubs and stroking the giraffe. A great time was had by all.


On Friday 16 May the Comboni Missionaries commenced their celebration of being in South Africa for 90 years,  with a beautiful celebration at Maria Trost Mission outside Lydenburg, where they have been active for most of that period.  The church in South Africa owes so much to their dedicated service and, so indeed, does Mercy House and the refugee community. We thank them and assure them of our loyal support and prayers for many more prosperous years and many vocations! In the photos we see Father Jeremias,. provincial, Father Fabio, the mission superior, the mission sister, Diana and David who were present for the happy occasion.