Pastoral Work, Education at “standstill” in Sudan amid Violence: Religious Order Superior

Sr. Alice Jurugo Drajea, Superior General of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (SHS). Credit: ACI Africa

Pastoral work, and education are among services at “a standstill” in Sudan amid violence, the Superior General of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (SHS) has said.

In an interview with ACI Africa, Sr. Alice Jurugo Drajea, who has been facilitating the resettling in South Sudan of her Sisters who were safely evacuated from Sudan, recalled the ministry of SHS members in Sudan before the ongoing war broke out on April 15. 

SHS members in Sudan were engaged in “mainstream education in schools from nursery to university level, pastoral work and also social work such as empowerment of women, and serving refugees,” Sr. Alice said during the Thursday, June 22 interview.

Sr. Alice Jurugo Drajea. Credit: ACI Africa

“All these services offered in Sudan have come to a standstill because schools are closed and children are running with their families away,” she further said, and added, “Our pastoral work in the parishes has completely been affected because the Sisters had to leave the area.”


The Juba-based SHS Superior General continued in reference to the violence in Sudan, “This situation has made it very difficult for us to make a long-term developmental plan because we don’t know what’s going to happen next.”

On June 23, residents began fleeing Kadugli city in Southwest Sudan following tensions that escalated between the army and a powerful rebel group threatening to open another area of conflict in the country's ongoing war, Reuters reported.

Heavy clashes involving the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the paramilitary force under General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, and army units of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) that are loyal to the head of Sudan's transitional governing Sovereign Council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, have been reported in the country’s capital, Khartoum.

On Wednesday, June 21, the U.S. adjourned peace talks that it was facilitating alongside Saudi Arabia in Jeddah, with Molly Phee, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, saying on June 22 that the format of the peace talks was not progressing as expected, Reuters reported.

In the June 22 interview with ACI Africa, Sr. Alice said SHS members were “heartbroken” to leave Sudan even though they had to “run for their lives.”

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Sr. Alice Jurugo Drajea. Credit: ACI Africa

The Sisters were signs of hope for the people before escaping to South Sudan,” the Ugandan-born Catholic Nun said, adding, “The Sisters could not tell the people that they were living because it could break the hearts of the people that were turning to them for help.”

In a June 12 interview with ACI Africa, Sr. Alice appealed for assistance for the three SHS members who were evacuated from Sudan to South Sudan in May, fleeing the violent conflict that has reportedly displaced more than a million people.

She went on to call on the South Sudanese government to improve security at the entry point for the safe passage of those fleeing the Sudan violence into the country.

In the June 22 interview, the Superior General of the Congregation that was founded in Juba in 1954 by Bishop Sisto Mazzoldi called on the Sudanese warring factions to engage in dialogue to end the fighting that has resulted in the death of hundreds.


“Those engaged in the conflict should realize that the fighting will not lead them anywhere because the people they are supposed to serve are running away,” Sr. Alice told ACI Africa, and added, “They should come to the negotiating table to have dialogue and bring peace to the people of Sudan.”

Patrick Juma Wani contributed to the writing of this story

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