At the Congregations of St Joseph United Nations Non-Governmental Organization, planning ahead is essential. For that reason, Sister Griselda Martinez Morales, who represents the Sisters of St Joseph at the United Nations, informed the Global Coordinating Group that she will not be continuing in the position after she completes her term in August 2014. Griselda feels strongly that this position is one that needs the involvement and experience of many sisters. Therefore, after five years in the position, Griselda would like another sister to have that experience.
The Global Coordinating Group began its search last September and is pleased to announce that Sister Justine Senapati, a Sister of St. Joseph of Annecy from Bhubaneswar, India, will be assuming the position in August 2014. Justine joined the Sisters of St Joseph in 1992 and began her ministry as a teacher and then as formator in their program for candidates and those in temporary profession.
Justine’s life was dramatically changed on August 23, 2008, when sectarian violence between Hindus and Christians broke out in her native Kandhamal, Odisha. She describes the violence: “Houses were burned; possessions were ransacked; women became widows and even gave birth to babies on the bare ground. People had to run for their lives into the jungle to hide in the chilly, windy and rainy season. Hindu fundamentalists sought out Christians and killed them simply because they were Christians. Along with the faithful laity, the priests and religious sisters were targeted. My only brother was targeted to be killed and, although he was deeply traumatized, he escaped. The people were in great fear, trauma and agony. There was no one to listen to their frightful stories. I asked permission to provide part-time service to the people of this area. As I listened to the cry and misery of the people, my heart melted, and my eyes were opened. I found Christ and His mission in a new way at this moment. Through this work, tharchbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar asked me to assume the position of secretary to the Women’s Commission.”
This experience on the Women’s Commission, combined with her educational background and the encouragement of her community, moved Justine to apply for the position to represent the Congregations of St Joseph at the United Nations. In her applications Justine said, “I am interested in offering myself to work at the UN, so that the voices of the marginalized as well as the voices of those who deserve a better quality of life in the face of injustice and discrimination at various levels may be addressed. I would give my best forthe cause and the organization.”
Sister Justine will be coming for a three-month internship at the UNNGO which will greatly assist in the transition. In addition, she will be attending the International Justice and Peace Commission meeting at the UN in April 2014