By Sr Mary O’Dea
In November 1962, four Columban Sisters arrived in Condevilla, San Martin de Porres, to work with the people who had only recently moved into the area. The first priority was a school which became known as Colegio San Columbano. Later the sisters got involved in other parish activities, working with the people to improve the quality of their lives.
This important milestone in the life of Condevilla and the Columban Sisters was recently marked by a 50th Anniversary celebration held in St. Columban´s School and organized by Sr. Juana, OP, the present director of the school, a group of former students and others who have worked closely with the sisters in various parish programs over the years.
The celebration began with Mass celebrated by Fr. Noel Kerins, SSC and the homily was given by Sr. Eileen Rabbitte who had lived and worked in the parish for many years. On entering the chapel for the Mass one could feel the warmth and cariño of the whole atmosphere and that this was truly a special celebration.
It was deeply emotional occasion especially for the sisters who had been in Condevilla for many years. People who remembered us over a lapse of over thirty years showered us with their gratitude and appreciation. Names truly escaped one as they held out their hands and said ´Don´t you recall such and such´ Meeting middle-aged married parents who had been catechists so many years ago and now wanted to recall the times gone by and show how much they cared was something that touched us deeply.
Having received the thanks and goodwishes of old friends and past teachers and, Sr Joanna thanks all present and then the dancing resumes with Sister Hasuk partners one of the special guests
Afterwards, there was a special fiesta which began with beautiful Peruvian dances presented by some of the students of the school and their teacher. Then there was time for those present to recall their memories of the sisters, and each Sister was presented with a silver medal of St. Columban as a token of gratitude.
The evening ended with food being served to all present. As we left the hall and said goodbye to our friends we knew that the mission of the Columban Sisters in Peru which had begun with these wonderful people was something to be proud of and a reason to say THANKS BE TO GOD!