Ethiopian women pray together in Associations of Mary

  • Image of Mary in the living room of a Catholic home in Emdibir, Gurage region, Ethiopia.

One feature of Ethiopian Catholic life is the organization of many small Associations of Mary. In Emdibir, women organized one such group, which included 15 mothers with school-age children. The group has a statue of Mary that the women bring from house to house to pray together once a month on Wednesdays. They might have a coffee ceremony together, enjoy food and beer, then offer a prayer to Mary, sing songs to Mary and share about their lives. In Emdibir, children do not have their own association, but they come along to the mothers’ Marian group. Men also have a group devoted to St. Michael, the archangel. St. Michael and Mary are both seen as models for each gender.