Sunday 17 November 2019

Sister Orla honoured by Melania for her courage

Sr Orla Treacy receives her award from Melania Trump. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Sr Orla Treacy receives her award from Melania Trump. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

An Irish nun who works in conflict-torn South Sudan is among 10 people honoured with a prestigious award by US First Lady Melania Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Sr Orla Treacy, from Bray, Co Wicklow, received the International Women of Courage Award at the State Department in Washington, along with nine others from around the world.

The other women honoured came from Bangladesh, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Montenegro, Myanmar, Peru, Sri Lanka and Tanzania.

Sr Treacy, who is a member of the Loreto congregation, was commended for working to empower young women and girls in South Sudan "at great personal risk and sacrifice".


She spends much of her time combating what she calls the "everyday reality" of families in South Sudan forcing young girls into arranged marriages.

Ms Trump said the trait of courage is "one of the qualities we need most in society".

"Courage is what divides those who only talk about change from those who actually act to change," Ms Trump said.

"Courage takes sacrifice, bravery and humility. It is the ability to put others first."

Human rights activists, police officers and an investigative journalist were among recipients of the award, created by the State Department in 2007.

Mr Pompeo separately recognised women in Iran for protesting the requirement that they wear a head covering in public, as well as a Ukrainian activist who died last year after she was attacked with sulphuric acid.

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