On the 29th of January, we, the Columban Sisters were invited by the Bishop’s Conference of Peru to their centre to receive the St. Toribio Gold Medal Award in recognition of our 50 years presence in Peru, accompanying the most marginated of society in the “pueblos jovenes” of Lima and in the Sierra.
Maura Gallahue, Martina Kim and I – Anne Marie Smith- as members of the ALT, went to receive this award. We felt quite overwhelmed as the president of the Bishop´s Conference, Mons Salvador Piñeiro, presented us with the medal, a commemorative plaque and a diploma in front of the Cardinal and all the Archbishops and Bishops of Peru. Only then did we realise we were the only congregation singled out to receive this award- that we were not one of many!
In my few words of thanks, I said that really it was the Peruvian people who deserved this award for, without their support and their friendship we would not be here today! I expressed gratitude for the fact that the people had revealed to us the face of a God who is solidarity, festive and above all – God who walks with his people.
The commemorative plaque and the diploma presented by Mons Piñeiro
I also thanked God for gifting me with a missionary vocation. And, I ask you, dear readers, if you think perhaps God is calling you to this way of life, then contact us! You have nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain!
Sister Anne Marie Smith, who hails from Scotland, has been on mission in Peru since 1983