About the photo above: Hermana (Sister) Edith Vila Alania above the city of Jarpa where she now ministers.
Sister Maria Luisa Naupari Gutierrez, now missioned in Jarpa, made her profession 1997. She and her classmates wrote this poem, “Dreaming Wakes Up Freedom,” published that year in an English language mission magazine. These excerpts may awaken the sense of what our sisters in Jarpa hope to accomplish with their ministry in the Huancayo archdiocese.
Can you help us “wake freedom” for the people of Jarpa today? Click PLAY on the video to hear "Dreaming Wakes Up Freedom" read aloud.
Your gift to our Spring Appeal will breathe new life into Sister Maria’s dream of dignity and purpose for the people of Jarpa. Your support will help fulfill the dream she dreamed so long ago as a young sister, in which she “saw a world where all would take hands the rich with the poor, the youth with the old, the white with the black...” Please donate today to Sister Maria’s dream!
Information for this story comes from Sister Judith Hilbing's Flavors of Hope.
Dreams Fulfilled: Twenty-two Years in Jarpa
Dealing with an old, odd house was not the only challenge our sisters faced in Jarpa in 2000. More than thirty villages are attached to the parish. The endless clusters of adobe houses scattered around the hills and valleys of the district were home to Quechua-speaking subsistence farmers or shepherds who were understandably distrustful of people they didn’t know after suffering decades of manipulation and violence perpetrated by terrorist organizations and the Peruvian military.
It would take time for the sisters to gain the trust of the people they were sent to serve. Building relationships required days filled with long journeys to introduce themselves to the public officials in each village and attend village events related to births, deaths, liturgical celebrations, and festivities.
“Only two people participated”
Like so many missionary leaders before them, the sisters recognized the impossibility of reaching every corner of the far-flung parish weekly or monthly. They knew they needed to train local catechists to animate the faith life of the people. After planning for, preparing, and inviting representatives from each of the 30 villages, the sisters anticipated a wonderful gathering of representatives to show up for their first day of training in evangelization. That is not what happened.
“When the day came, only two people participated,” Sister Judi wrote. “The others who had committed themselves went instead to the soccer match and/or the Peruvian Mardi Gras events. This was an example of how participation would be until trust and relationships were established between the sisters and villagers.”
“The whole town is helping”
Now, twenty-two years on, and every vestige of that reticence is gone. The work of our sisters and the lay catechetical leaders they’ve supported in building a vibrant community of faith bears abundant fruit. This beautiful new parish center that you—our generous donors—are helping to build is proof!
As the parishioner who narrates this construction update video says “There is such joy in our progress. This is a dream of many years. It seems like the whole town is helping. All six neighborhoods in Jarpa are participating along with their leadership. We toast them and the project. Traditions and friendships continue as we cooperate together to complete the Pastoral Center of St. John the Baptist.”
Will you be a part of the joy?
Please make a gift today to support our sisters in Jarpa and the faith community who values their accompaniment and witness to the Gospel.
A gift to our Spring Appeal will help us provide serviceable living space for our sisters in support of their mission to the people of Jarpa. We are so grateful for your generosity and kindness. Please keep all the people of Peru in your prayers because the country is struggling right now. And know that we hold you in prayer every day, too! Please donate today!
Sister Judi served for 25 years in Peru. She was principal of San Francisco Borja School in the Lima suburb of San Borja 1978-1984, then moved to the mission center of La Oroya, in Peru’s agricultural region, before returning to San Borja to oversee the religious education program for another year. In 1986 she became the founding principal of San Juan Pablo II, part of the Jesuit network of Fe y Alegria schools—Faith and Hope. The school was built in a squatters' colony on the outskirts of Lima, called an "invasion" or "pueblos jovenes"—a young city. Four years later she was elected to the council for the congregation and returned to the United States.
Ready to learn more?
Visit Our Mission Peru landing page to learn more about the construction projects and how you can help.