Who is Tom Catena?


Tom Catena, MD is a physician, soldier, Catholic missionary, and internationally recognized humanitarian who serves as the founding Chair of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative.

Dr. Catena, as Aurora Chair, works with politicians, humanitarian organizations, practitioners, and ordinary people all around the globe to share the idea of Gratitude in Action.  


Dr. Catena, the founder of the Mother of Mercy Hospital in Sudan‘s war-torn Nuba Mountains, has spent the last decade of his life as the sole surgeon continuously located in a territory the size of Austria providing medical treatment.

Despite an effective ban on humanitarian supplies, the withdrawal of other non-governmental organizations, and the continual fear of air assaults on the hospital, Dr. Catena treats over 750,000 patients suffering from maladies ranging from malnourishment and typhoid to cancer and battle wounds.  

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Read more about Tom Catena here.

Inspiring Talks by Tom Catena


Notable quotes

  • “Food is a weapon – a very effective weapon. People don’t cultivate, don’t farm, you cut the road off, then you subjugate them very easily.
  • “I was with a Navy F-18 squadron, and I know a single squadron could finish off the entire Sudanese air force in a day.
  • “The Sudanese army has retaken some towns. The people there are all living in caves because the Sudanese army is shelling their villages.”
  • “I don’t think I’ve had any adversity. I mean, yeah, I studied hard in school, but that’s not adversity. Everyone in the Nuba Mountains has faced incredible adversity, every single one of them. Just to finish primary school is an incredible challenge.”
  • “Probably 99 percent of Nuba are subsistence farmers. They have maybe two or three cattle, a few goats. Now there are food shortages, so they’re very thin. But traditionally, they are very strong and muscular. They grow sorghum, okra, a bit of corn, and some peanuts. If they need money, they’ll sell one of their animals or sell some sorghum.”
  • “I was influenced very much by St. Francis of Assisi, whose idea was to radically live the gospel. He was not a priest or even a brother. He was a layperson. His whole concept was to emulate Christ through the gospels, and to live it in a radical way.”
  • “I’ve been given benefits from the day I was born. A loving family. A great education. So I see it as an obligation, as a Christian and as a human being, to help.
  • “I realized mechanical engineering doesn’t much lend itself to missionary work.”
  • “My parents have been married 50-some years, and I’ve never heard them fight. I got the chance to attend great universities and medical school.”
  • “My father and mother are Muslims. But from the moment I started talking, I decided I was a Christian. They let me.”