Inter-conviviality in the former Eastern bloc

Renovabis faciem terrae — you will renew the face of the earth. Psalm 104 provided a name for Renovabis, a German-based organisation of solidarity sponsored by the bishops and supported by millions of faithful. 

Since 1993, it has been helping people in central and south-eastern Europe, in Russia and Central Asia. Inspired by the key concept of reconciliation, Renovabis seeks to listen and learn from Eastern spiritualities. This exchange is accompanied by concrete signs: 7500 projects in just under ten years to the tune of 30 million euro per year. For example, the European schools in Sarajevo are a way of rebuilding conviviality between Muslims, Orthodox and Catholics. “Europe needs to grow not just economically or politically,” says founding director, Eugen Hillengass SJ. Its harmonious growth, a common path undertaken by member States, should also touch the minds and spirits of Europeans. Especially at the time of Pentecost, Renovabis invites German Catholics to prayer and collaboration and, launching its tenth initiative this year, it focuses on women and their role in the radical changes of recent years, with the motto Auf SIE kommt es an! — FRAUEN in Osteuropa (Women of Eastern Europe – It depends on you!). “It is thanks to these women,” Fr. Hillengass recalls, that the message of Jesus did not fall into oblivion during decades of communist rule.