As we are getting closer to celebrating 50 years since the arrival in Peru of the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul, I feel filled with happiness and gratitude to God for having put them in my path.
A daughter with nine brothers, I spent my first years in the countryside, enjoying nature to the fullest: the river, the hills, the animals, the sun, the rain, the cold and the heat. The clear nights with thousands of stars and the moon, giving us its light. Games under the moon light, with my brothers, cousins and friends, who I remember arriving from the sierra, with their original outfits and their language (Quechua). I learned their traditions and customs. Today, I can clearly understand and see my attachment and love for them.
Later, I had to leave to the countryside to go to the city to study and to live close to “civilization”. This cost me a lot of grief. I survived because of ‘that something’ that is so mysterious in our lives.
As an adult, I came back to the place of my youth to work in the local school. This was a time of remembering my childhood, but also of learning together with other teachers, with the children and with the people. There was too much suffering among the people. Many of their needs were not been addressed and a complete lack of basic services were also missing: water, electricity, health, and transportation.
My friendship with the Sisters started at a time when I had many questions: Who am I? What can I do with my life? Where is God? Where can I find Him? How can I help the people who are suffering?
The Sisters helped me a lot. After a while, I was able to see a different way of looking at life, of feeling useful, capable of transmitting hope to others. Each one of them was building a new person in me; as Sister Irene MacDonell said “I was a hidden pearl”. Many memories invade my soul. I have you in my heart. The Sisters had their amazing dreams of changing the world, of making it more human, just as God would like it to be.
Guided by the principles of helping others I went into politics and became Mayor of Carabayllo, in a time of political violence in my country. How difficult and how painful it was not to be able to answer to the needs of my people. It was not nice to learn this reality. Society has its mechanisms. He who is very powerful manages ‘the machinery’ for his own profit, to become richer at the expense of the poor.
My friendship with the Sisters was never distant or had any ruptures. Therefore, free of my commitments, in 1993, I became an Associate of the Congregation. As an Associate, I deepened my knowledge of the history and the charism of the Congregation. This was the moment, when I understood why the Sisters were the way they were in terms of serving others, being friendly or concern, sacrificing themselves for others, being always cheerful and polite. Then I understood that “to love God is to love your neighbour”. The friendship with the Associates nurtured me and made me happy. We had many ideals in common. The relationships with Sisters and Associates in Canada are very interesting; they all nurture our spiritual formation. We like their visits.
In 1995, I became a member of the Congregation of Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul with many dreams. Since then, I have met a closer God, inserted in the history of the people who are always present in my life. The most incredible thing that has happened in my life has been to discover that God has always been in my life. A closer God, a friend, a Good Father.
To walk with the Sisters have been indeed a marvelous experience in my life.
Thank You God,
Thank You Sisters.