Isabella "Izzy" Farris wasn't keen on jumping from Sacred Heart-Griffin High School into college, so she made a deal with her parents, Blanca and Steve. They agreed that she could delay college if she filled the bulk of the year with meaningful, life-stretching service.
Her first stop was Tanzania, where she gave five months of service at St. Nicholaus Children’s Center in the Bukoba Catholic Diocese. Then after a few months back in Springfield, in May she flew home to Lima with Sister Beatriz Vila Alania and Sister Doris Terrel Jimenez, where she's spending time among some of Lima's poorest citizens.
"I have been mainly working in a soup kitchen at the St. Martin de Porres house," Izzy wrote from Casa Maria, the sisters' Lima convent. "Hermana Betty and I have been going to help out there. Even with my lack of knowing the Spanish language, I can still get the jobs done," Izzy said enthusiastically. "Hermana Betty and
I help wash food, prepare meals, serve meals, and help clean up afterwards." she explained.
From Lima, Izzy traveled 300 mountainous miles to Jarpa, in Huancayo Province, to experience the full pastoral life of Springfield Dominican Sisters Elizabeth Castro Cruz and Maria Louisa Naupari Gutierrez.
Sisters Eli and Maria provide educational, catechetical, and pastoral services to dozens of small parish communities in Huancayo. Once a haven for the terrorist organization Sendero Luminoso, Jarpa now serves as the Springfield Dominican Sisters' base for ministry to children, youth, and families throughout the province. About once a week the sisters travel a circuitous mountain road to Huancayo city to check email, buy groceries, and fulfill their responsibilities as catechetical advisors to the Jesuit archbishop of Huancayo, Cardinal Pedro Barreto.
For Izzy Farris, the experience has been a challenging and expansive one that has broadened her life-experience as she begins college in the fall.