Angela, at the invitation of her home parish Liturgy group and the local parish priest, Fr. Larry Kelly, in Cahirseeven. Co. Kerry, spoke at three Masses on 19-20 October last. Two of the masses were in O’Connell Memorial Church and one in Aghaturbid church.
Angela’s Mission Sunday Address
“I’m a nurse for people with an intellectual disability and I work in St. Mary of the Angels, Beaufort. I have had a strong connection with Ayacucho, Peru, for the past 7yrs. This evening I am going to share with you some of my experiences.
From 2006 – 2008, I spent two years working and living with the people of the Andes. The Andes people are warm, friendly and so appreciative of anything that is done for them. They dress so simply and colourfully. Even though they have so little they are full of joy and happiness and are always welcoming.
I did a training course for overseas work with Viatores Christi in Dublin. While there I linked up with the Columban Sisters in Wicklow who work in the Philippines, Burma, Pakistan, South Korea, China, Chile and Peru. Through the Columban Sisters I got to know more about their mission and eventually I decided to join them as a Lay Missionary in Ayacucho, Peru.
In 2006 I spent my first six weeks working in a special school. Here I wasn’t very happy with the way the children were being treated so I quickly moved on and set up my own little practise quiet near the Sisters who were running a Mental health centre. Here I was involved in giving the children stimulation. This was done through play, art, music, massage & physio stretching and, very importantly, promoting the child’s independence. At this time I had employed two local staff nurses. We also ran courses for the parents on what intellectual disability is all about.
As time went on numbers grew and there was a need to expand. So in 2007 together with the Sisters, we invested in a new premise and were able to cater for more children. Our staff numbers grew to 5 including 2 nurses, a physio, a speech therapist and a teacher. All of this was made possible – thanks to you, the people of South Kerry.
Since 2011 this clinic, which is called “El Caminito de la Esperanza”, which means the path of hope has been handed over to the Brothers of Charity who now continue the programme.
As many of you are aware, I return to Peru each winter for 3mths and during this time I set up mobile clinics in rural mountain villages. This service is reaching out to families who cannot visit the city due to both financial & physical challenges.
For me it is a great privilege to be able to do this work in which I find great contentment and satisfaction. I love the people of Ayacucho and look on them now as my second family.
Our newly elected Pope Francis who is from South America has brought great HOPE to the people of Peru. Tonight maybe one or more of you may be giving a thought to going working overseas as a lay person and I would encourage you all the way.
Finally, I wish to thank you the people of South Kerry for your extraordinary support. I know you will continue to pray for these wonderful children in Peru and their families.”
Pope Francis speaking on the occasion of Mission Sunday 2013:
“I cordially bless all missionaries and all those who accompany them and support this fundamental commitment of the Church”