Meeting Tom Catena is the closest I have come to meeting a saint. He runs the Mother of Mercy Hospital in the war-torn Nuba Mountains of Sudan with an unparalleled level of devotion to his Catholic faith and the Nuban people who seek his care. Much of the region falls under rebel control. Civilians struggle to survive amid ground fighting, aerial bombardment and starvation warfare at the hands of their government. Humanitarian organizations are prohibited from delivering aid. Catena defies the ban and is the only surgeon serving a population of 750,000 people. He works tirelessly, day and night, treating all ailments, war injuries and starvation. He tells me his greatest reward is the sense of peace that comes from serving people in need, rebels and civilians alike. In spite of the hardship, he is exactly where he wants to be.
Berends’ film Madina’s Dream is about the Sudan war