Maryknoll Sisters: Youth Advocacy

Youth Advocacy

Children are our most precious resource.  And protecting children is a foundational element of Catholic social teaching.

Unfortunately, tens of millions of children are forced to work in degrading conditions, or are victims of slavery and abuse, harassment and discrimination.

Today we have 300+ Maryknoll Sisters sharing in the mission of Jesus providing hope and a better life to children around the world.

Pray with Maryknoll Sisters


Sister Story: Sister Celeste Derr

In the nation of Tanzania in East Africa, Maryknoll Sister Celeste Derr has been working to give children in need a truly wonderful gift, that of a brighter future through education.

Thanks to the generosity of friends like you, Mercy Montessori Pre & Primary Scholl was able to complete the construction of its permanent home there.

The children in this area live in conditions that are hard for us to imagine. A large number of them are orphans whose parents have either died or abandoned them. They live in dirty and unsafe conditions, with no electricity or clean water. In addition to malnutrition, many have conditions like HIV, sickle cell anemia and many have suffered abuse. No child should have to live under these conditions, but there are few pathways to better lives open to them.

Education offers one way. But that too has been just a dream. Any education these children received was meager and generally enforced through beatings and abuse: an all too common form of “teaching.”

Mercy Montessori offers a sliding scale tuition based on what each family is able to afford, including those who can afford nothing. The teachers are trained and qualified, and modern and effective teaching materials are used in clean, safe school buildings with new plumbing and electricity. The Montessori model it uses emphasizes allowing children to learn that their own pace and guide by their own interests, without corporal punishment, Freedom, self-confidence and empowerment are the guiding principles.

The need and demand have been very great…the school now has more than 200 students in classes I-VII (approximately equivalent to 1st through 7th grade) and 71 children in the Sacred Heart Daycare Center.

Until parents began registering children the day school open, I really had no idea how many would their children 10 kilometers away to study at a school parents had never seen!” Sister Celeste says.

As you might expect, the resources to educate and care for so many students — including food and health care — in this impoverished area can be hard to find. The school is always financially vulnerable, and only through the dedicated support of our benefactors can it continue to operate.

Sister Celeste Derr teaching school children
Sister Celeste Derr teaching school children

“What our children experience daily is truly a miracle of God’s abundant love and grace”

Pray With Us

A Prayer for Children

O God the Father of mankind, who hast given unto me these my children, and committed them to my charge to bring them up for Thee, and to prepare them for eternal life: help me with Thy heavenly grace, that I may be able to fulfil this most sacred duty and stewardship. Teach me both what to give and what to withhold; when to reprove and when to forbear; make me to be gentle, yet firm; considerate and watchful; and deliver me equally from the weakness of indulgence, and the excess of severity; and grant that, both by word and example, I may be careful to lead them in the ways of wisdom and true piety, so that at last I may, with them, be admitted to the unspeakable joys of our true home in heaven, in the company of the blessed Angels and Saints. Amen.

O Heavenly Father, I commend my children to Thy care. Be Thou their God and Father; and mercifully supply whatever is lacking in me through frailty or negligence. Strengthen them to overcome the corruptions of the world, whether from within or without; and deliver them from the secret snares of the enemy. Pour Thy grace into their hearts, and strengthen and multiply in them the gifts of Thy Holy Spirit, that they may daily grow in grace and in knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ; and so, faithfully serving Thee here, may come to rejoice in Thy presence hereafter. Amen.God of Compassion, hear the cries of the people around the world that suffer from terrorists’ attacks. Bring healing to those suffering from the violence. Bring comfort to those mourning the dead, and strengthen the people with courage and hope. Convert the hearts of those who have become terrorists,and protect those committed to peace, and give us all hope for a future of peace built on justice for all.We ask this blessing through Jesus the Christ,Source of Peace and Light of the World, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.



children praying