At the Congregations of St Joseph United Nations Non-Governmental Organization, planning ahead is essential. That is why Sr. Griselda Martinez Morales, representing the Sisters of St Joseph at the United Nations, announced more than one year in advance that she would not be continuing in her position as the UN-NGO representative for the Congregations of St. Joseph. Sr. Griselda feels strongly that this is a position that needs the involvement and experience of many sisters. Therefore, after her five years, she wants another sister to have that experience.
The search for a new representative began in September 2012 and led to offering the position to Sr. Justine Senapati, a Sister of St. Joseph of Annecy from Bhubaneswar, India, who will be assuming the role in August 2013. Sr. Justine joined the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1992 and began her ministry first as a teacher and then a formator in their programs for candidates and sisters with temporary vows.
Sr. Justine’s life was dramatically changed on August 23, 2008 when sectarian violence between Hindus and Christians broke out in her native Kandhamal, Odisha. Sr. Justine was marked by the violence she witnessed when Hindu fundamentalists targeted Christians, burning their houses and forcing them to flee in fear to the nearby jungle. Listening to the stories of those who had lost all and whose family members had been killed, she felt called to minister to them in a new way. An opportunity came to here when the Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar asked her to assume the position of Secretary to Women’s Commission.
This experience on the Women’s Commission, combined with her educational background and the encouragement of her community, moved Sr. Justine to apply for the Congregations of St Joseph position at the United Nations. In her applications Sr. Justine said, “I am interested to offer myself to work at the UN so that the voices of the marginalized as well as those who deserve a better quality of life in the face of injustice and discrimination at various levels can be addressed. I would give my best for the cause and the organization.”
Sr. Justine will be coming for a three-month internship at the UN-NGO, which will greatly assist in the transition. She will be attending the International Justice and Peace Commission meeting of the Sisters of St. Joseph which will be held in Brentwood, NY, in April 20114 and include one day at the UN.