|At the age of 81, Sister Maria Concetta Esu continues her lifelong work as a midwife in the Congo.|
Pope Francis recently blessed the hands of Sister Maria Concetta Esu, 81, who has delivered more than 34,000 babies while working as a midwife in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
"The task of a midwife brings me great joy because God gives life but he doesn't give birth," says Sister Esu in an article by Agence France Presse.
Sister Esu works in the clinic run by her order, the Daughters of Saint Joseph of Genoni. About 40 babies are born in the clinic each month, and several parents have named their newborns Maria, after Sister Esu.
She was originally trained as a nurse in Italy and then studied tropical medicine in Belgium. She moved to the Congo in 1959, a year before the country’s independence.
Throughout the violence of wars and the rule of a dictator hostile to the Catholic Church, her mission became a haven of peace and assistance for many.
Currently, tension remains high in the country amid suspicions of political corruption, but Sister Esu says she has no plans to flee, explaining, "I want to stay here. I don't want to be a deserter. I've given my whole life here and I shall also give my bones."