Canadian native Sister Barbara Paleczny, SSND, has lived and worked in South Sudan for the past 10 years. “Every day, I find that it is a privilege to be here in South Sudan walking with our people; I celebrate that daily!”
In her ministry as a psychosocial specialist, Sister Barbara travels throughout South Sudan giving workshops in healing from stress/trauma and training others how to give the workshops. She has also served as principal and tutor of the remote location in-service teacher training program for Solidarity Teacher Training College.
Along with Sisters Annette St. Amour, IHM, and Br. Joe Walsh, OFM, she also coordinates “healing and wholeness” retreats for other religious serving in South Sudan.
“People are clear that our staying in South Sudan throughout the battles and economic collapse gives them hope. Since I have lived through many battles and the recent war, I stand with them as a wounded healer… The team of leaders who now work with me extend this healing ministry far beyond what we imagined possible. We work in camps for the displaced, refugees, with teachers, medical staffs, women’s groups, men’s groups, youth groups, prisoners, soldiers, people with special needs, interfaith leaders, some government leaders.”
In her 56 years as a School Sister of Notre Dame, Sister Barbara has served as a teacher, social justice coordinator, and pastoral associate in Canada, England, Bolivia, the United States and South Sudan. She was founder and coordinator of the South Texas Coalition Against Human Trafficking. She is also an artist and author.
Photos by Paul Jeffrey