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At Mercy House "things are really happening"! Update 8 Nov 2009

Diana sends this account -
"The last month or two have been jam-packed with happenings. Going to Mercy House - one just senses:'this is a place where things are happening!'.

Our much needed new building

Perhaps the most important and relevant item right now is the very speedy erection of our new office cum guest room.

The workers have been simply excellent and everything has happened so quickly. The shell is complete and we are busy furnishing it.

Our first guest, current volunteer German student, Anje (photo below) was suppposed to stay there, but as it was not ready when she arrived, she was quite happy to pitch tent in our storeroom on a couch, accompanied even by a few mice!. As soon as the extension is ready, she will be the first guest to stay there.

We hope that our BA pilot, Stefan, will make use of it too, when he comes again... Apart from that, it will be our much-longed-for and much-needed new office.This project has been costly but it was very necessary, and that is why we went ahead, feeling we could not wait, and trusting in divine providence. Judy McGregor (and team) and Frances and Stefan Bartkowiak (and team) have, between them, raised a good sum as a starter, i.e. 1,400 pounds = R 16 800., a great beginning. We sincerely ask all our friends at St Richard's and further afield, to hold the Mercy flag high again and support the new fund-raiser, the Christmas sale, this next weekend - which will bring us a little closer towards covering the cost which is rather huge, around R85 000 (between 7 and 8,000. pounds). We can never aim too high, I guess!

New volunteer - Anje, German student

Anje is studying engineering in Germany and wanted a working holiday in SA. We met purely by chance at Holy Mass one Saturday in September, and, on my telling her about Mercy House, she immediately caught fire with the idea of coming to help out. What a great gift she has been, much loved by all and doing so much work. Currently she is getting curtains ready for our extension. She is seen here with one of our youngest residents, Xolilie, from Zimbabwe. To our our great joy, Anje will still be with us over Christmas, a very happy time at Mercy House.

In the photo above you see Nicaise with me. Nicaise's family came to MH in 1997, having had terrible experiences in the genocide in Rwanda. Nicaise was then 7 years old. We assisted the family with the education of their children and helped them with accommodation for around 4 to 5 years. Today both parents have very good jobs, they live just down the road from MH and are our very good friends, still totally part of our Mercy House family, joining in all our celebrations etc.. Nicaise, in the photo, has just completed her 2nd year medical studies at Wits university. It has been a privilege to have assisted that family, whose lives were in tatters when they arrived in SA around 12 years ago.

Shadadi honours us again

In our last report about Shadadi we showed him at his confirmation. Now we have further great news of him: next year he will be in his final school year (having come to us when he was 7). During September, he was chosen as a school prefect and deputy head of the boarding school for his matric year. We are very proud of him and he deserves it too, being an exceptionally hard worker. He wants to study medicine after school. If God opens doors, he may well fulfil his dream, since many of our other dreams have really come true!


Eddie honoured us as well

During October, Eddie graduated in electrical engineering. He is seen with Sr Fidelis who attended his graduation. He came to Mercy House from Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) about 5 years ago, desperate for help and accommodation. We are proud that we were able to take him in and get him a bursary and that he has done so well in his studies.

Simon Donnelly Ordained Priest

Simon used to be one of our co-workers when he lectured at Wits university.(This photo was taken around 2001 when he was still doing volunteer work at Mercy House. With him is a young orphan, Nicole, now a young adult, living in Canada,whom we were helping. Simon went to study for the priesthood in Rome. He is also Diana's God-son! On 13 September, having come out from Rome, he was ordained in the Cathedral in Johannesburg. ( Thanks to Judy Stockill of Archdiocesan News at Johannesburg Cathedral for sending us this marvellous photograph.)

A large Mercy House contingent attended and he did us the great honour of having a meal in the evening with close family and friends at Mercy House. We are all very proud of him. Simon celebrated one of his first Holy Masses the week after his ordination, giving Holy Communion to Vanneaux, one of our Mercy House residents.

Fr Simon has now returned to Rome to specialise in Holy Scripture for the next three years! Not to mention that he had a doctorate in linguistics even before he joined the seminary!"