I want to introduce a wonderful woman whom I’m fortunate enough to call friend, colleague, and inspiration. Sister Angélique Namaika has lived her whole life in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire.
She’s a sprightly Catholic nun and she runs a safe home for women and children traumatized by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Some 2,000 individuals have passed through her doors and received care and training.
Such selfless work deserves adequate recognition, particularly for a woman so humble and strong. At the end of September, Soeur Angélique was honored by the UN High Council for Refugees (UNHCR) and received the Nansen Refugee Award of 2013 for her dedicated service.
I first met Angélique in June 2012, when she and Abbé Benoit Kinalegu came to Washington, DC, to testify before Congress about the brutality of the Lord’s Resistance Army and request continued support for efforts to end LRA violence.
During her visit, Angélique was a source impressive resolution and tirelessness throughout her trip. Chelsea and I took the pair of them around the DC sights – Benoit requested a photo in front of everything. Angélique shared stories that compared her home in Dungu to our great capital city.
I was sorry to see them go, but eager to hear from them each again soon. I must say I was thrilled to learn that Soeur Angélique would travel again and be recognized for her efforts.
But what really broke my heart was watching her meet Pope Francis I in St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City. To pray with the Holy Father must have meant so much to Angélique. Oh to have been there to witness two of my favorite Catholics meet.