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The Wombles are worth it!

2016-04-21 09:06

The Wombles are running once again in the London Marathon! Most bystanders will not see that, beneath the amazing costumes are some amazing people. It just so happens that this year’s Womble and his companion are Jesuit novices, Jacques St Laurent and Chris Brolly, running with the Wimbledon-based Jesuit Missions team. This year, they are running to support refugees in Syria. Each team member’s targeted fundraising goal will pay a doctor’s fees for one whole year.

I rarely have the opportunity to sing the praises of contributors to Sunday Plus and to Advent Extra, but it so happens that both Jesuit Missions and the Jesuit Refugees Service (JRS) have regularly written for both publications.

Typically, when disaster strikes, the JRS are usually the first in and the last to leave, staying with “refugees and other forcibly displaced persons” long after other agencies have disappeared over the proverbial horizon. They are the unsung heroes and heroines whom the global media tend to overlook in favour of the UNHCR and Red Cross.

JRS says of itself, “JRS believes in the intrinsic dignity of every person. We work with refugees and other displaced persons regardless of race, gender, religion or politics.” If you want proof, just take a look at their online photo galleries: even where there is tragedy and disaster, where many journalists will show horror to the full, somehow JRS manages to take pictures of joy, dignity and self-respect.

And Jesuit Missions? Their work helps to underpin outreach to the poorest of the poor across the world and, sometimes, regardless of personal risk.

Through my own work and mission during the past twenty-five years, I have regularly had first-hand experience of both Jesuit Missions and JRS. Both organisations go far more than the extra mile to help those in need.

If you would like to sponsor Jacques or Chris, or any member of the Jesuit Missions team, please visit

When you see a Womble in the London Marathon, spare a prayer (and perhaps some cash!) for Jesuit Missions and the Jesuit Refugee Service. They’re worth it!


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