Dr. Tom Catena

Hello! I hope everyone has been enjoying the summer as we move into the second week of July!

The last time I shared a blog with you, I wrote about the power of one person, even one petite young person, to make a significant positive impact on many, many people.

I want to share a similar idea this week because of a story that I came across through my internet surfing. I found this story extremely powerful and worth sharing again and again. 

What I discovered began when I read about an award given out each year called the Aurora Prize which started in 2015 and will continue for eight years until 2023 (I’m not going to mention that actor George Clooney’s connection to this prize may have caught my eye!!!). Read more about the Aurora Prize and Aurora Humanitarian Initiative.

As you will read, “the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative seeks to empower modern-day saviors to offer life and hope to those in urgent need of basic humanitarian aid and thus continue the cycle of giving internationally.” And the annual Aurora Prize is presented to an individual “for the exceptional impact of their actions on preserving human life and advancing humanitarian causes.”

The 2017 Aurora Prize winner is a remarkable physician who really resonates with our local area and the mercy mission of Maria College—he is from Amsterdam, NY(!), and is the only full-time physician at Mother of Mercy Catholic Hospital in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains. 

Dr. Tom Catena, according to the Aurora website, is a “Catholic missionary from Amsterdam, New York who has saved thousands of lives as the sole doctor permanently based in Sudan’s war-ravaged Nuba Mountains where humanitarian aid is restricted.”

Those words say a lot, but pictures and video say so much more about the phenomenal, awe-inspiring work that Dr. Catena does to help the people of the Nuba Mountains amid horrific violence and genocide. Currently, a documentary about Dr. Catena and the people of the Nuba Mountains is screening at various venues. Please take a few minutes to watch the two-minute trailer for the documentary.

And for a slightly longer fifteen-minute clip from the documentary that is so powerful.

I am absolutely humbled in the presence of Dr. Catena and the work that he does, and he definitely raises up my spirit with hope about the goodness that human beings are capable of. 

I am also so grateful that all of the students who find their way to Maria College have the opportunity to take our Foundations of Social Justice course to deepen their awareness of the humanitarian issues in our world and the powerful effect that mercy can have to decrease these issues. 

Until next time  . . .



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