03 Jul 2022

From Clara to Athens: Kilkenny kids make sure migrant children have a gift to open

Touching Christmas gesture


The students with their gifts ready for sending

The children of a Kilkenny primary school have made sure that impoverished migrant children living in Athens had a gift to open this Christmas.

In 2018 Fr Willie Purcell worked with the Sisters of the Holy Spirit in Athens in their outreach to migrant families and children.  The sisters give their time to caring for the poorest of the poor in Athens, where in Victoria square, almost 1,000 migrants are living homeless, many of the orphaned children.

"I was shocked and disturbed by what I saw," said Fr Willie.

"One experience that haunts me is, one day while bringing food to the migrant children, Sr Ewa offered some bread to three children. One was aged 11, one 9 and one 7. The eldest girl said 'Sister we have had some bread this morning but those children over there have had none, give it to them'.

"This generosity of poor children looking out for others was truly the poor taking care of the poor."

When Fr Willie returned to his Parish in Clara he shared the experience with the parishioners and Children in St Colman's National School Clara.

"We decided that we would help the sisters in their care of the poor especially the children. For the past three years, the school and parish of Clara have been caring for the migrant children in Athens. 

This Christmas, the children in the school sent Christmas presents to the sisters to give to the children. On each gift, the young person wrote their name to let the migrant children know that they are not forgotten - especially in Clara.

Last year, the children in Athens with the sisters sent a thank you card to each child to say 'thank you' for remembering them. Through the generosity of many parishioners, the gifts were shipped to Athens in time for Christmas.

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