2018 marks the 50th Anniversary of our Mission to Peru with the Archdiocese of Halifax 1968-2018 2018-04-09T14:04:20+00:00

On Oct 13th, the Sisters of Charity and the Christian Communities of La Victoria, Cajamarca, Lima and Ilo will celebrate 50 years of our arrival in Chiclayo, Oct 4th, 1968 to begin our mission of walking in solidarity and hope within the community of believers. The Christian Communities send greetings: With love and gratitude we prepare ourselves to celebrate 50 years of service and evangelizing mission of the Sisters of Charity in our Peruvian Church and people.

We thank God for your lives generously shared in La Victoria, Lima, Cajamarca and Ilo; for the bonds of friendship that unite us; and for so many fruits of fraternity, solidarity and commitment achieved on this journey, which today continue to be signs of life and hope in our people.

We remember with gratitude, and at the same time we pray that this time will be one of encouragement and renewal of faith and commitment in the face of today’s challenges in our reality. At the beginning of this year of celebration, we remember our dear friend Frank Hegel, SFM, who died on December 24, 2017 and thank God for all the love and effort he gave to the preparation of this Anniversary as a member of the committee.

On Dec 28th, it was so wonderful to experience the Christian Community of La Victoria united in a Celebration of Thanksgiving for his life and to witness his fidelity to Jesus and the poorest. His joy and blessing remain with us as we continue preparing for this celebration!

Meaning of Logo

THE FIRE: is the symbol of charity, love and the spirit of God that illuminates, guides and embraces the mission.

MAP OF PERU: The place of the mission, where we are called to share life, to assume a commitment, to transform and to be transformed and to take care of life.

PLANT: It is the life that is growing from the smallest, the simplest, the insignificant, the invisible … until it becomes a tree that gives the fruits that our life and our reality need.

COMMUNITY: We are called to follow Jesus in community, to promote the values of the Kingdom, and to join efforts for a more dignified and just life, especially for the poorest. The people represent Chiclayo, Cajamarca, Lima, Ilo, and the Sisters of Charity along with the missionaries of the Archdiocese of Halifax and Scarboro.

CROSS: Symbol of love and solidarity, expressed in the commitment to announce and defend life. The call to live the experience of Jesus’ love, with an active, liberating faith, incarnated and committed to the poorest.

EL FUEGO  símbolo de la caridad, del amor y del espíritu de Dios que ilumina, que guía, y abraza la misión.

CRUZ: Símbolo de amor y solidaridad, expresados en el compromiso de anunciar y defender la vida. El llamado a vivir la experiencia del amor de Jesús, con una fe activa, liberadora, encarnada y comprometida con los más pobres.

COMUNIDAD: Somos llamados a seguir a Jesús en comunidad, a promover los valores del Reino, y unir esfuerzos por una vida más digna y justa especialmente para los más pobres.       Las personas representan a Chiclayo, Cajamarca, Lima, Ilo, y a las Hermanas de la Caridad junto a los misioneros y misioneras de la Arquidiócesis de Halifax y Scarboro.

PLANTA:   Es la vida que está creciendo desde lo más pequeño, lo más sencillo, lo insignificante, lo invisible… hasta convertirse en un árbol que da los frutos que nuestra vida y nuestra realidad necesitan.

MAPA DEL PERU: El lugar de la misión, donde somos llamadas/llamados a compartir la vida, asumir un compromiso, a transformar y ser transformadas. A cuidar la vida

Peru Celebration Committee

Peru Celebration Committee
Gladys Fernandez and members of the communities in La Victoria
Father Frank Hegel, SFM, Mark and Maritza Hathaway, Scarboro lay associates, Father Jim Richards, Archdiocese of Halifax
Sisters Kay Conroy, Mary Beth Moore, Martha Loo and Cecilia Hudec

Witness Statements from missionaries to Peru

Sister Gabriela Villela
Sister Gabriela Villela
It was in early 1968 that I arrived in Peru to live with the Sisters of Mercy in Monsefu (about 20 miles from La Victoria).

It was my great desire to become familiar with the future land for our mission. Several times a week I would take the bus from Monsefu arriving in Victoria Nueva. There I would explore the area and became very impressed by the future plans in the infrastructure for that area. Its wide streets would become some day the best town in the area.

Very important for me was to get to know certain persons that, in my opinion, became the nucleus of our first Christian community and the future San Jose Obrero Parish.

I refer to those persons as the five pillars of our future community:
EULALIA HEREDIA DE ZULOETA
MARIA DOLORES CHU DE LAOS
TERESA FERNANDEZ DE MARTINEZ
MANUEL LOZADA ARRIOLA
SALVADOR MIMBELA

And that was the beginning of a mission full of vitality and love that would expand for our sisters and brothers in that northern area of Peru.

Blessed be our God!

Gloria Garcia
Gloria Garcia
Este año 2018 llena mi corazón de gozo porque celebraremos 50 años de la venida de las Hermanas de la Caridad al Perú. Para mi fue un gran regalo de Dios conocerlas y haber trabajado muy cerca de ellas sirviendo a nuestro Pueblo Victoriano, con una opción preferencial por los más pobres. Me ayudaron a crecer en mi fe, a conocer un Dios cercano que nos ama, y a vivir en solidaridad con los más necesitados. La oración, la reflexión, y la formación permanente fortaleció nuestra vida personal y comunitaria. Caminando con ellas aprendí a valorar el don de la amistad, la alegría de compartir, de servir y de vivir en comunidad, trabajando unidos, unidas para lograr nuestro sueño de una vida más justa y más digna para todas y todos.

Acompañaron con alegría y cariño grupos de niños, niñas, jóvenes, mujeres, parejas, y adultos; y hoy, muchos de ellos, son signos de esperanza en cada lugar donde se encuentran. Doy gracias a Dios y a las Hermanas por esta experiencia maravillosa que sigue inspirando mi vida y mi compromiso actual como integrante del Grupo Vicentino. Siempre están en mi corazón!

Con mucha gratitud,
Gloria García

Sister Agnes Burrows
Sister Agnes Burrows
As we arrived at the Chiclayo airport we were warmly greeted with happy and welcoming faces in the midst of a military coup which was taking place in Lima.

Throughout my years I felt embraced by the loving people of La Victoria. Through all the ups and downs, the floods, earthquakes, personal tragedies, etc., the faith filled response of the people was evident. As one person said, “We don’t have much in the line of material things but we have much LOVE.”

I remember a visit with Seniora Rosa. She asked me what I found the hardest. I told her the language was a struggle for me. I wondered if what I heard was what the people meant to say and if I said was what I really wanted to say. I will always remember her response. She said “You speak the language of the heart and that is what is important.”

One funny happening was at the blessing of San Jose Obero Parish. I was helping to serve at the reception. I asked the Bishop if he would like a piece of cheese. I wondered why everyone laughed so I asked them why they were laughing. They told me that instead of asking him if he would like a piece of cheese I asked him if he would marry me. So much for my Spanish. The words for cheese and marry are similar. I never made that mistake again.

I remember the great generosity and courage of the people especially following an earthquake that took place when I was there. I was really impressed by a woman who had made a coffin for her funeral and gave it to someone to be used by a victim of the earthquake.

Sister Frances Gritte
Sister Frances Gritte
Una chispa de mi tiempo en Victoria Nueva…
Al llegar a Chiclayo en 1971, me regocije al encontrar al equipo pastoral de Victoria Nueva compartiendo con los residentes de allí las enseñanzas de los documentos del Concilio Vaticano II. Habían emprendido el proceso de vivirlas – poco a poco, no solamente discutirlas. El fomentar un espíritu de comunidad Cristiana fue gran parte de este proceso y aprendí mucho de los participantes llegados de muchas partes del Perú. Cada sector de la parroquia (San José Obrero, Juan XXIII, Cristo Luz de Mundo – este último donde trabaje yo – desarrolló un espíritu único y a la vez común. La actitud de bondad servicial y alegría verdadera frente a tantas dificultades, fue inspiración y lección duradera. Esa nueva perspectiva de iglesia es algo que traté de llevar conmigo al regresar a los EE UU para trabajar con los inmigrantes aquí. Les agradezco siempre esas memorias y experiencias inolvidables.
Rolando Serquén Puyen
Rolando Serquén Puyen
Cuando era un niño veía siempre a mi madre llevar refrigerios, almuerzo o bocaditos que ella los preparaba para llevar a las personas que trabajaban en las “mingas” en la construccción del templo de lo que es ahora la parroquia “San José Obrero”, algunas veces la acompañaba, es ahí donde se guardan en mis recuerdos el trabajo de la gente, el compartir de la Palabra de Dios y de los alimentos, el trabajo organizado por las Hermanas de la Caridad y de los sacerdotes de la Diócesis de Halifax quienes hacían las mismas labores que los demás.

Ya adolescente, un Domingo después de haber participado de la santa misa, se me acercó la Hna. Catalina Conroy para invitarme a participar como catequista en la Parroquia, yo acepté la invitación y fui a la reunión, era un grupo donde la mayoría eran mujeres, sólo el ahora sacerdote P. Tito Santoyo y yo éramos los únicos varones. Sentía temor, pero ese día se leyó el pasaje de Jeremías del primer Capítulo, el llamado de Dios al profeta, eso me hizo perder mis dudas y temores.

Desde ese momento hasta ahora sigo participando como catequista en la Parroquia San José Obrero. La Palabra del Señor es algo que va traspasando y permaneciendo dentro de mi corazón. Agradezco mucho a las Hermanas de la Caridad y sacerdotes de la Diócesis de Halifax y a los Misioneros y Misioneras de Scarboro por haber acompañado y marcado la vida de todo un pueblo que tenía hambre de Dios. En lo personal, me casé con Orializ, también Catequista de la Parroquia, tenemos un hijo ya profesional y vivimos 27 años de vida matrimonial y familiar. Gracias por enseñarnos a valorar la vida, a ser buenos amigos, buenos padres, madres, hijos, hijas para el bien de los demás con muchos valores que los vamos transmitiendo a quienes lo necesitan. Como olvidar enseñanzas de las Hnas Barbara, Catalina, Gabriela, Marykey, Zelma, Martha, Cecilia, Mariana, Marina, Mary Beth, cada una aportó sus talentos y valores, al igual que nuestros amigos sacerdotes Jim, Martín, Felipe, Gerardo, Hugo, Denis y Frank. Gracias por haber hecho de cada uno de nosotros los victorianos, que estén en nuestra historia como parte de este pueblo, vivir en comunidad, fraternidad, solidaridad, organización en los trabajos pastorales y laborales. Ahora este barrio “Victoria Nueva”, que hoy se llama “La Victoria” está creciendo y es un Distrito en desarrollo. Gracias por sus valores y enseñanzas que nos dejaron y que ahora transmitimos a los demás. [ …Y me contesto Yavé: “No me digas que eres un muchacho. Irás a dondequiera que te envíe, y proclamaras todo lo que te mande. No tengas miedo, porque estaré contigo para protejerte –palabra de Yavé.” ]

Sister Martha Loo
Sister Martha Loo
Pope Francis addressing the Religious, priests and seminarians in Trujillo, Jan. 2018, said that “our vocation is memorable … memory looks to the past to find
the sap that has watered the hearts of the disciples for centuries, to recognize the way of God for the life of his people.” From these words, I reflected on my own journey of saying Yes to God as a Sister of Charity. It goes back to the years ‘69-‘70 in which I met the newly arrived sisters in the district of La Victoria.

I realize that through the gestures and attitudes of the sisters, their closeness to the poorest, their simplicity in entering into relationship with the people, is what made me discover the human and simple face of God. I experienced a welcoming and cheerful Church that responded in solidarity to the lives of the most poor. This experience was the sap that accompanied me all these years as a Sister of Charity.

This realization is what made me make a 360 ° turn in my life, to take the path of the God of Life, in changing my hospital life between test tubes and microscopes to a new life of evangelizing mission, walking together with the people, sharing sorrows and joys.

The first nine years as a Sister of Charity, I lived in La Victoria and had my first evangelizing experiences of knocking on doors and inviting neighbors to participate in the meetings of the community. As there were no lights in the street, the team of a sister, a priest and two laymen or women carried a gasoline lamp; it was all an apprenticeship that allowed us to share life with the people. I loved that experience. This intense time of mission was marked by team work, the Sisters of Charity working together with the priests of Halifax-Canada, caring for and watering the seed.

It was a privilege for me to accompany the Community of Juan XXIII that was being formed. We grew and learned together to follow Jesus, to live our faith in everyday experiences, to express solidarity, generous service, sharing, celebrating, joy, creativity, unconditional friendship and respect for each other.

These values have not been erased from our lives despite the weather, and we live the words of a song, “when we meet, we embrace, we celebrate and we say, count on me”.

In all this experience I learned that to form community we must be attentive to the reality in which we live so that our responses of solidarity are signs of the Kingdom. It was important to be formed well in our faith and to accompany each other.

With this learning and intuition I continued my mission in Santa Isabel de Villa in Lima, and later in Ilo. We always tried to respond to the specific needs of the people so in the area of education we formed a library, in meeting health needs we implemented a medical center and a ”comedor” where the women would cook together using donated foods from Caritas International. We saw that it was important to educate the laity in basic health practices so we promoted the training of lay people who would work with their neighbors. We experienced a life of community in which joy, friendship and solidarity were present.

I experienced in these last few years a call to serve in the field of holistic health,
attending to any person who requests it and in any place where I am faithful to my call as a Sister of Charity. It has been a challenging and fruitful ministry for me at this time of my life.

I am grateful to God for the life received and shared on this journey!