The tragedy of Kenya

Kenyans displaced by violence take refuge at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Eldoret, Kenya, in January. (CNS/Reuters)As violence continues in Kenya, Jesuit Father James Martin tells a touching story of life with the Kenyan people that deserves more readers. Father Martin, who might be better known as author of the recent Catholic best-seller “My Life With the Saints,” spent two years of his Jesuit formation in Nairobi more than a dozen years ago. He came to love the people and the variety of ethnic groups and believed that the genocide in Rwanda could never happen there:

The horrific violence in Kenya, in cities like Nairobi and Kisumi, in smaller towns like Kiambaa, and in the sprawling slums of Mathare Valley and Kibera, places that I knew well, and that still retain intense memories for me, is absolutely shocking. Perhaps the countryside is simply different than the city. Or perhaps I misjudged Kenya. (It would not be the first time.)

The good news, if it can be called that, is that Catholic aid agencies don’t want to abandon the country. But Father Martin’s piece, in the America magazine blog, is a sobering reminder of man’s occasional inhumanity to his fellow man.

PHOTO: Kenyans displaced by violence take refuge at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Eldoret, Kenya, in January. (CNS/Reuters)

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