In the summer of 2017, the Fontbonne Community was represented by six students and four faculty and staff members in Gulu, Uganda. The Gulu Immersion Project idea was first envisioned a couple years prior. We wanted to open up the opportunity for members of our community to experience the culture of northern Uganda. We choose Gulu, Uganda because our Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet have had a presence there for many years.None of us were fully prepared for who we met and what we saw during our two weeks in Uganda. Despite an abundance of new sights, culture, and traditions, we felt most welcome by all of the citizens of Gulu while we were accompanied by Patty Clune, CSJ.
Thank you so much to everyone who made the Gulu Immersion Project happen. Without the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and their charism, we never would have thought to expand our community’s connections and relationships around the world in the way that we did. The way in which we saw the CSJs committing to the common good in Gulu by volunteering and offering assistance to growing institutions inspired us to move forward by supporting both our community back at home and the community of dedicated people in Gulu. Without the support of those who donated to this trip, inside and outside of the Fontbonne community, we would not have been able to make the project reality. We are forever grateful to the donors who saw this project as important as we did.
If you would like to learn more about the Gulu Immersion Project of 2017 and how we plan to move forward with our connections in Gulu, Uganda, please contact us at the Mission Integration department.
The hospital in Lacor has 600 beds. That is even more than St. Mary’s Hospital on Clayton Road. Lacor hospital makes much better use of its outside space than we might. Patients wait outside on benches or sit on the grass and visit with each other. They make the bricks for their hospital buildings and construct the buildings themselves. Family members cook meals for their patients outside. A St. Louisan, Sister Mary Ann Gleason SL has worked there for many years. She told us how they struggled with the Ebola epidemic (losing 13 staff to the disease). Such commitment!
The National Memory and Peace Documentation Centre was recommended to us by the President of Sacred Heart University. Inside, there was an enormous amount of information relating to the civil wars and unrest that occurred in northern Uganda. The staff presented us with two documentaries of personal accounts of the civil war, specifically relating to Joseph Kony. It was both overwhelming and inspiring to see the stories that the survivors were brave enough to tell and those who recognized the importance of making these recounts available to the public.
During our time in Gulu, we all made personal connections that we will remember forever. Considering the unrest that may still affect those of age, it was truly amazing to come across so many kind and welcoming personalities. We saw many school teachers treat their students with kindness and a gentleness that touched many of our hearts.