Women of Substance.
International Women’s Day, 2018.
On this International Women’s Day 2018 we recall Women of Substance who have shaped our lives and enabled us to make a difference wherever we are planted throughout the globe.
On this International Women’s Day 2018 we recall Women of Substance who have shaped our lives and enabled us to make a difference wherever we are planted throughout the globe. Sr. Patricia McGuinness shares a story that Sr. Eufrasia sent her about herself and her companion, Sr. Sabina Choi, both Columban Sisters, who were both missioned up on the dizzy mountainous heights of the Andes, in Peru.
Have you ever met a seven-year-old apostle? Very few people have! But not too long-ago Sr. Eufrasia, a Peruvian Columban Sister, had that experience.
Sr. Eufrasia ministers in the Parish of St. Sabastian situated in the Andes, in the mountainous region of Cuzco, Peru, about 4,000 metres above sea level. She and another Columban Sister, Sr. Sabina Choi accompany the people in that remote area and carry out all the pastoral duties of the Parish. Sr. Eufrasia sent me this story of a little girl called Luz who became an apostle in her village by bringing to Church, first, her little sister, then her brother, followed by her parents, and later her classmates from school.
She tells the story: “One Sunday, after we had finished the Liturgical Celebration around midday, I invited the parents present to come to the Parish Office and enroll their children to prepare them for the Sacraments of Baptism and First Communion.
As the people were leaving, a little girl called Luz came up to me. She was no more than seven years old. Her reason for approaching me was to ask if her little brother, who was less
than three years old, could be baptized. I said yes and explained to her that her parents would have to attend the preparation course. After I had explained everything to her she went off happy to tell her parents. The following week she came again to the Liturgy, this time with her younger sister and the little brother of three. I said to her: ‘Luz you are very good to bring along your brother and sister’. Happily, she replied: ‘yes Sister, I brought them so that they can learn to pray”. She obviously had more interest in the fact that they would receive the Sacraments than her parents had. From then on, the three little ones kept coming. One evening after class in the school, I saw her again sitting near the Church. She was very sad looking. I went over to her
and said: “Hello Luz how are you”? She said: ‘Sister, I am very concerned because my father has no work and when he has no work he has no money and then we have no money to buy food, so I came to the Church to pray. “We prayed together and then I asked her if I could accompany her to her home. Sure enough, just as she had said, the father was there. I talked with him and his wife. Their circumstances were very difficult, and it was not easy for him to find work. The location, and the surrounding area where they live, didn’t help the situation”.
“A few weeks later she came to the Church looking for me, this time very happy, to tell me that her father was working. From then on, the children did not come alone to the Church, their
mother came along with them and later on the father also began to come. All thanks to the faith and insistence of the little girl.
“I invited her to come to the Church on Saturday evenings, where we had just started activities for children, such as religious formation, including the teaching of prayers and songs. When Luz started to come, each week she brought new children to join the group, some of whom were her classmates from school. Other children have also brought their friends and so the group keeps growing. Now we have a good number of children who come every Saturday and can enjoy the activities we put on for them.
Before they leave for home we serve them a nutritious snack, bread, to nourish them, and they go off happy and enthusiastic to come again the next Saturday to prepare to receive the Bread of Life for the first time.” At this time of year when many of our children here are preparing for their first communion, please remember in your prayers, Sr. Eufrasia. and the children of Cuzco, in the Andes Mountains, especially Luz.
Sr. Eufrasia and the people she works with, are very grateful for the support of your prayers, and also for your financial support, which helps her to provide food and instruction for the people in the parish of San Sabastian, in particular for the children. She, and all of us pray for you and your families that God will bless you richly for your goodness.
Now Srs. Eufrasia, and Sabina, enriched and blessed by years of journeying and living among the people and cultures of Peru, carry within their hearts treasures imbibed from their lived faith and rooted in the struggle for justice, learnt a lot from the women of substance they encountered on a daily basis, are now called to move on to new pastures.
In another area of Peru, the women remembered the people who helped them throughout their lives and as an expression of thanks, created a beautiful banner for one community parish who reached out and supported them over the years.
May the Lord bless the work of the hands of these Women of Substance!