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In last Thursday's blog I spoke about how Edmund Rice (1762-1844) influenced my choice of life-style and work. Today I have been reading about how he is still influencing  people.

Teresa Wald comes from Germany. She grew up in a privileged Catholic family with good values. She joined the Christian Focolare Movement which promotes the ideals of unity and universal brotherhood since 1943. She chose to work in the social field and studied educational and social science and is passionate about supporting less privileged and marginalized people through creating safe spaces for them to learn, grow and become empowered.

After university she participated in a German-South African research exchange on youth employability. Her projects focused on intercultural and inclusive learning, learning mobility of youth and best-practice-exchange of youth organisations. Here she began to realize that working for justice is not easy.

She started interning at the Edmund Rice Justice Desk in Africa in order to gain insight into the management and organisation of an NGO which is not only promoting justice but also the Christian faith.  She got to know the many different branches of the Edmund Rice Network and the many measures to promote justice worldwide. She has been impressed by the humble and passionate commitment of the network’s volunteers who bring their selfless support and so much positive energy. The international network has a lot in common with the structures of the Focolare movement. She says that she feels very much at home in the organisation, that it’s been such a gift working in many fields of interest: with people of disability, vulnerable youth from townships, and with the Christian Brothers and the Edmund Rice Network.

What about Edmund Rice's life inspires her? She says Edmund Rice was a very warm hearted and strong person, always ready to go against the mainstream, opinions and voices of people. She's very inspired by his radical giving. What strikes her most is the number of people following him – still in 2016!  "He’s a role model who has shown me how to love without boundaries and to overcome manmade barriers with God’s grace. We are all called to be blessed as Edmund is. Getting involved at the Justice Desk means meeting Edmund every day through the staff and volunteers - and being reminded to be saints in whatever we do".