Nelson Mandela International Day

Credit: South Africa The Good News /

Have you read “Long Walk to Freedom,” the autobiography by Nelson Mandela or “Madiba” as he is known by his Xhosa name? It is a powerful account of the life of a man who I consider one of our contemporary saints – not because he never did anything wrong, but precisely because, in all his humanity, he struggled through the blatant injustices facing him and grew into that sacred point of public reconciliation in service of the common good.

On July 18 Nelson Mandela will turn 95. To honor his extraordinary contribution to peace and freedom, the UN has designated July 18 of each year as Nelson Mandela International Day. This year the UN has joined a call by the Nelson Mandela Foundation and invites people around the world to devote 67 minutes of their time to service of helping others, as a way to honor Nelson Mandela’s 67 years of service to humanity as a human rights lawyer, prisoner of conscience, international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa. Service for the common good inspires, empowers, and is one more step on the road to social transformation.

You can find more information about this day at the following websites:

Cecile Meijer, rscj

July 2013