Sowing a seed: Walking together for Justice and Peace

The priorities for MMM mission in Honduras are education and active involvement in human rights issues. Sister Renée Duignan, from Ireland, explained that the need for this was evident from the beginning, in working closely with local communities and collaborating with other like-minded groups.
‘Choloma, where our project, Casa Visitation, is situated, is close to San Pedro Sula, with the world’s highest murder rate per capita. These deaths are due to organized crime, drug cartels and family breakdown. Over 90% of deaths are drug-related. We witness the pain and grief that nearly every family suffers. Sadly there is no justice for the poor, who cannot afford legal help.
‘Human rights worker Berta Caceres was murdered on 4 March 2016 in Esperanza, about an hour’s drive from Marcala where we began our mission 16 years ago. From the indigenous Lenca tribe, she worked tirelessly for human rights, especially for the environment and the preservation of Lenca culture. Berta was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for her opposition to one of Central America’s biggest hydroelectric projects. Her death was a shock to us and a great loss for the Honduran people.’
Reflecting on the signs of the times
‘The Casa Visitation team has worked with volunteers, women suffering from domestic violence, people living with HIV/AIDS, and children with behavioral problems and learning disabilities. With the help of doctors, psychologists, lawyers and other health professionals, in the past year we were involved in 16 workshops for 560 people on human rights issues. We gave talks once a month to 12 groups - a total of 124 people.
People find much fulfillment in the bi-monthly support groups led by the psychologist-in-residence. We collaborated with groups such as CDM Centre for Women’s Rights, San Pedro Sula; APOMUH Office for Women’s Affairs, Choloma; Ashonapvsidah (for people living with HIV/AIDS), Caritas and the Diocesan Health Commission.
‘Women especially have better self-esteem and 84 children were able to integrate back into school. Parents or guardians have more skills to enable behavioral change in the home. We are always amazed at the resilience of the people and their faith in God. They nurture and root our faith and love. The work has borne much fruit, yet much more needs to be done.
‘Violence and murders have been exceptionally high in our area this year. The Casa Visitation team organized a March for Peace on 17 July with churches, people from local government, NGOs and other groups. Our parish priest, Padre Glenis Mejia, paid special tribute to Berta Caceres. He prayed for all those who had lost their lives through violence, especially those from our area. As we walked together we told stories and sang songs. We were deeply aware of the unity in the group, realizing the power of working together for a common good. Many people were suffering deeply and their hearts were breaking. They were lifted up by their faith in the Christ of the Cross who rose that they may have life. We MMMs give thanks for the call to walk in solidarity with them as we struggle together to bring about justice and peace.’