Sister Paul Helene
On 12th May we celebrated Paul Helene’s anniversary, remembering her martyrdom on May 8th 1994 and her beatification on Dec 7th 2018.
We met in the community centre in Blackpool, Cork, a great gathering of sisters, co-workers and friends.
Paul Helene was shot while working in a library in the Kabash in Algiers, Henri Verges, a Marist brother was shot a few moments later.
In the following years 17 others were martyred, including the Bishop of Oran, and his driver, 7 Cistercians, 4 White Fathers,
and two Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of the Apostles(OLA).
We were joined by Sister Patricia McMenamin OLA who attended the Beatification in Oran Algeria. It was good to hear a first hand account and be aware that 100 Muslim imams attended.
Our meeting was to honour the witness of the martyrs, refusing to leave the Muslims they knew and served in a time of great danger.
A Muslim in Algeria said “Believe that the dialogue between our two communities is still possible”
We gave thanks for Paul Helene and the other martyrs, they gave courageous witness to the Gospel value of Love, despite the threat to their lives.
In a letter written at Easter before she died Paul Helene wrote: “In the midst of despair and distress Life continues: people help one another take charge of their lives”.