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Granddaughter takes grandmom to Rome to find the missionaries who converted her

2017-05-21

Meet Priscilla and her grandmother, Ranetha, from South Sudan. Seeing Pope Francis was only the first step in their Roman quest to find the Comboni missionaries that changed her grandmother's life. 

The missiony group stems from Verona, Italy, and in 1904, set up their first establishment in South Sudan. Expanding throughout the country, they are responsible for bringing Catholicsm to Ranetha's area. 

PRISCILLA SPAETH
"We wanted to bring her to Rome because my grandmother, when she was about 12, left her family's home in Opari South Sudan and went to Loa mission, where the Church was based and there was a school there. So she went there and converted to Christianity. The priests and the nuns learned the language, lived with the people, and ministered to the people there.”

Her father was Muslim, and her mother followed the traditional religions of their tribe. It was because of these missionaries, her granddaughter translates, that the family is now Catholic. 

PRISCILLA SPAETH
"All of our lives all my grandmother ever talked about was her time at Loa mission, and she would talk about these nuns and these priests so fondly. So we brought her to she could come see the pope today, and we're hoping to go and meet with the Comboni Mission so we could see the people that really changed their lives, and who brought Christ to her, and to thank them.”

The final step of their Roman quest is to find the grave of the priest that confirmed Priscilla's grandmother.  Almost 80 years later, it seems that all roads really do lead to Rome. 


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