'The cause for the poor becomes our cause'
Thirty years ago this month, a small group of Australian and New Zealand nuns travelled to Peru in South America to begin a new chapter in the life of the religious congregation founded by St Mary of the Cross MacKillop.
|Sister Margaret Malady, current leader of the Josephites in Peru.|
The Josephites’ Regional Leader for Peru, Sister Margaret Malady, said the strong bond between the Sisters and the local people is the result of three decades of conscious effort to be part of the community.
“Peru is a wonderfully vibrant country but its people have experienced economic and social upheaval that has included decades of guerrilla warfare," Sr Margaret said.
“Walking closely with the people, in both good and sad times, is the essence of the Sisters presence among the Peruvian people."
Since 1981, when Sisters Elaine Walker, Edith Prince, Dorothy Stevenson and Ursula Hoile were sent from Australia to start the first Josephite community in Peru, more than 20 sisters from Australia and New Zealand have been part of the Peruvian mission. Their constant focus has been the message, 'the cause of the poor becomes our cause’.
“It is wonderful today to see projects operating that enable income generation and fair trade practice,” Sr Margaret said.
Inspired by the Sisters and the spirt of Mary MacKillop
This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the murder of West Australian Sr Irene McCormack in Peru. On 21 May 1991, Sister Irene and four local men were shot by Shining Path Maoist insurgents in the town of Huasahuasi. Despite this tragedy, the Sisters of St Joseph have continued their mission in Peru.
|First Josephites in Peru (L to R): Srs Elaine Walker, Edith Prince, Dorothy Stevenson and Ursula Hoile.|
The Sisters are continuing their work in Peru with the assistance of lay people known as Josephite Associates. The Associates are people inspired by the work and example of the Sisters and St Mary of the Cross MacKillop.
Sister Margaret said she is thankful for the support of the Associates and the thousands of people who each year support the work in Peru.
Sister Angela Carroll, the longest serving Sister of St Joseph in Peru, has been with the mission for 27 of the past 30 years.She has recently returned to Australia after working in Lima and the Andes and will continue her ministry in the Toowoomba diocese in Queensland.
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