– sent by Sister Mary O’Dea
Recently, a group of young people from various Korean Catholic communities in Los Angeles came to Peru to participate in some of the missionary work of the Columban Sisters.
On their arrival they were warmly welcomed by Sister Joanna Krupa with whom they spent their first night in Peru. As part of their preparation for this exposure experience they were given an overview of the history and culture of the country by Sisters Mary Mulcahy and Anne Marie Smith. They then divided into to two groups, and accompanied by Sisters Hasuk Shin and Erisa Lee, they left to spend the following week in two parishes on the outskirts of Lima where the Columban Sisters work.
In Huaycan the young people had an opportunity to visit a center for women founded by Sister Mary Neylon to help women overcome the effects of political and domestic violence. They helped out in a children’s center directed by Sister Martina Kim where they had the chance to enter into the lives of the children who live there. Language was no barrier as they made friends and laughed and played together, each one learning from the other,
The second group spent time in Canto Grande where Sister Young Mi Cho directs a preschool program and a special center for small children with differing abilities. Each day the young people helped out in the school, working with the classroom teachers. They shared meals together and enjoyed each other’s company as they played and sang and danced.
At the end of each day, the young people gathered to share their experiences and reflect together on what the Lord was saying to them through their exposure to the lives of some of the children of Peru.
Some of their comments help to sum up what the experience meant to them.
– “It was a fantastic experience because I really felt connected to the people, not just a tourist.”
– “Although the place is poor, the people here in Peru seem happier than the people in the US.
….I learned to appreciate what I have.”
– “It not only opened my eyes, it inspired me to let people know what is going on in Peru and try to do something for those in need.”
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