Chile and Peru are getting ready to welcome Pope Francis and so too are the Columban Sisters.
“I want to meet with you, look into your eyes, see your faces and experience God’s closeness, his tenderness and mercy that embraces and consoles us,” the pope said in a video message released by the Vatican Jan. 9, 2018.
The pope will be in Chile Jan. 15-18, visiting the cities of Santiago, Temuco and Iquique. He then will fly to Peru and from Jan. 18-21, he will visit Lima, Puerto Maldonado and Trujillo.
In his message, Francis said he was familiar with the history of both countries and was grateful for the people’s faith and love for God, particularly in caring for those “discarded by society.”
“The throwaway culture has invaded us more and more,” he said. “I want to share in your joys, your sorrows, your difficulties and hopes and tell you that you are not alone, that the pope is with you (and) that the whole church embraces you.”
Francis also said he hoped to share with the people the experience of the peace that comes from God through Christ’s resurrection, which is the foundation of peaceful coexistence in society and “heals our miseries.”
“To feel God’s closeness makes us a living community that is capable of moving with those who are at our side and take firm steps toward friendship and brotherhood. We are brothers and sisters who go out to meet others to confirm one another in the same faith and hope,” the pope said.
The Peru-Chile trip will be Francis’s fourth to South America. In July 2013, he visited Brazil for World Youth Day. In July 2015, he traveled to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay, and in September 2017, he visited Colombia.
And now for our Columban role in the Pope’s pilgrimage!
Sr. Kathleen Mary wrote to Sr. Susanna, Congregational Leader sharing wonderful news, with a big surprise and privilege saying:
“We are looking forward to the visit of Pope Francis, arriving next Monday. God has gifted me with a big surprise…together with a Chilean Sister I was chosen by the Conference of Religious to present him with the flowers that he will give to Our Lady of Mount Carmen, Patroness of Chile as is his custom. He will also visit Temuco in the South, Mapuche indigenous communities, and next day to Iquique in the far north where he will continue on to Peru”.
We will be on the look-out for Sr. Kathleen Mary O’Riordan that day, wherever we are scattered around the world and we will also be remembering Sr. Angela McKeever, her companion. This is a great tribute to all our Columban Sisters who worked in Chile. We will follow Pope Francis onto Peru where Srs. Maura Gallahue, Youngmi, Eufrasia and Sabina will represent us there.
May it be a blessed time for each one of you in Chile and Peru and may it be the culmination of all your years, spent lovingly and joyfully spreading the fragrance of our Columban charism to the people of South America, not forgetting the gift you received, of imbibing one of the richest cultures in the world which has changed you forever.