This Advent, as we “Prepare the Way of the Lord”, we
participate with our sisters and brothers around the world in the Dominican Month
for Peace-2018! We reflect in a special way
on the Democratic Republic of Congo- “a multifaceted country on a Long Road to
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are the
Peace Makers” ---Jesus did not say blessed are the peaceful, nor blessed are
those who avoid unpleasantness, conflict, or confrontation---but “Blessed are
the Peace Makers!” Making peace demands action!
It is about developing relationships—in Advent terms-making straight His
Path—making the crooked straight.
This peace making requires asking questions and engaging
rather than ignoring the unknown. If we
don’t know we can turn a blind eye and a deaf ear. Only when we begin to understand that the Democratic
Republic Congo is the 2nd largest territory in Africa (after Algeria), that it
is home to 85 million people---with a median age of 18---most living in extreme
poverty. The children under 12 are among
laborers, some working 12 hr. days for the equivalent of $2.00/day or less
extracting valuable resources from gold, cobalt, and diamond mines—that we can
really appreciate the crisis that cries out for Peace Making!
The Democratic Republic of Congo is rich in natural resources
but the Congolese people are starving while providing these resources to the
wealthy of the world. Multinational corporations
are exploiting the Congo for MY benefit.
Just one example---my smart phone is powered by a cobalt battery with raw
material most likely from the Congo!
Years of war and political in stability have made this one
of the poorest countries in the world.
Dominican women and men work in the DRC for change and offering many
forms of aid—the Long Road to Peace requires conversation and
relationship. I may never meet a Congolese
citizen or refugee although there are 4-5 million displaced, most living in
nearby African nations. However, as we
learn about this country and pray for peace---right relations---we can have an
impact. The nation will have elections on December 23 which many hope will
bring about a more responsible government---and surely our conversations and
questions will contribute to a brighter light shining on the Congo, so that the
eyes and ears of the world can no longer ignore its people.
This Advent let us be peace makers---in the DRC, at home, and
throughout the Earth!
Sister Mignonne Konecny, OP
December 8, 2018