NAIROBI, Kenya — Comboni Sister Tseghereda Yohannes said she was caught off guard when she was appointed secretary-general of the Eritrean bishops’ conference.

“This was most unexpected to me as my whole ministry has been on teaching,” she told Catholic News Service in a recent interview.

She has taught biology and chemistry in various schools. She also has served as a chaplain at Eritrea University and counselor for the Comboni Missionary Sisters in Kenya and Eritrea.

During the interview, the 64-year-old nun touched on various issues affecting Eritrea.

On the protracted conflict between her country and neighboring Ethiopia, Sister Tseghereda said it is unfortunate that the two countries should be at “loggerheads.”

“Unfortunately, the conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia is a never-ending problem. The Eritrean bishops have clearly condemned the war and asked leaders of the two countries to solve the problem peacefully. However, we will try to study and find out how to reconcile the people of these two countries,” she told CNS.

On the Eritrean government’s recent move to nationalize schools and health institutions founded and run by the Catholic Church, she said: “This is quite not in order, as the Catholic Church is not in competition with the government. On the contrary, the church is availing its services to the Eritrean people in the area of education and health.”