Sr Orla presented with humanitarian award
Sr Orla Treacy from Bray has been awarded the 2017 Hugh O'Flaherty International Humanitarian Award.
This is the 10th year of this award, established in 2008 to commemorate the humanitarian work of Killarney native Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty, in Nazi occupied Rome during World War Two.
Sr Orla is the principal of a Loreto education and medical mission in Rumbek, South Sudan. In 2004, the Loreto Sisters in Ireland and worldwide started a new movement called 'Courage to Move.' It was an invitation for all Loreto Sisters in different countries to start a new mission, to re-engage with missionary spirit that was reflected in the early foundations, and to try to start a new mission in new countries. Shortly after she was professed as a Loreto Sister, Sr Orla responded to this call and in 2006 travelled to Sudan. In the face of abject poverty, civil war and the absolute oppression of women and in particular young girls, they succeeded in establishing schools and a basic medical centre in the area of Rumbek in central South Sudan.
In accepting the Award, Sr Orla told the large audience, 'In 2011, South Sudan gained independence and it was hoped that matters would improve. 'Following a brief period of relative peace, conditions in South Sudan have returned to those applying pre-independence and the Loreto Sisters continue to struggle to provide education and minimal medical care for those in their care.'
She went on to describe the terrible circumstances facing young girls in South Sudan, with forced marriages while still in their teens, high mortality in childbirth and almost non-existent education, even at primary level.
'The Loreto sisters are committed to staying the course and with the help of supporters in South Sudan and at home in Ireland, we will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that the young people of South Sudan will receive an education thus enabling them to climb out of poverty and oppression,' she said. 'The girls and young people we work with in South Sudan fill us with hope for a better future for this country.'
Students from all the schools in the Killarney parish presented a bursary to Sr Orla.
Sr Orla was accompanied at the ceremony by her father Blaise Treacy, her brothers, members of her family, friends and Loreto colleagues.