Sister Mary (left) with Carmen Rosa from the Huarmi Huasi Women's Centre
Sister Mary (left) with Carmen Rosa from the
Huarmi Huasi Women’s Centre

Waking up in the morning to the sound of barking dogs and crowing cocks, Sister Mary Neylon might for a moment imagine that she is back home in her native Ballyea, near Ennistymon in West Clare.  This is where she grew up on a farm in a family of one boy and two girls. That, however is as far as the similarities go.  Today Mary  is living  in a tiny house in Huaycan on the outskirts of the city of Lima in Peru.

Having worked in the Civil Service in Dublin for four years, Mary began her life as a Columban Sister in Magheramore, Wicklow.  On completion of her religious and professional training she was assigned to the southern Philippines where she worked as a social worker for eight years. She then did an M.A in Peace Studies after which she became the Justice and Peace representative for the dioceses of Birmingham in England.
In 1989 Mary went to Peru.  She became involved in a number of organizations that endeavour to empower women.

Mary’s involvement with women’s groups eventually led to a decision to get more involved at the grassroots.  She moved to Huaycan on the outskirts of Peru,  rented part of a house in the midst of the sprawling urban development of 140,000 people and began to make contact with the women in the neighbourhood. This  eventually led to the foundation of  Warmi Huasi.


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