Seeds of Hope
by S. Gabriela Villela
The seeds of hope planted by the Seton Way Group from Edmonton, AB keep growing in La Victoria, Peru. The first service trip in 2006 was framed in a series of workshops on nutrition, hygiene, recreation and the environment.
Now five years later, it was with great joy and anticipation that the women and children of La Victoria awaited my pastoral visit. Likewise, it was a blessing for me to spend time and energy among them.
I found the growth in family values most evident. Parents are making greater efforts in educating their children in spite of great financial difficulties, even though many of the parents are still illiterate.
Saint Vincent and Saint Benedict elementary schools in Edmonton have twinned with the children in La Victoria for the past eight years and their solidarity has benefitted the children greatly. This time, their donations went toward providing school shoes for approximately 100 children. The children also received warm jackets from Saint Thomas More Junior High, Edmonton. A donation from a group of Associates in Halifax, NS provided a number of school supplies.
All of these gifts were very appropriate, as the school year was about to begin in March.
During my visit, with contributions from Annunciation Parish in Edmonton, we replaced the roof of the Centre, built a new bathroom, added a new kitchen sink and put the finishing touches to the kitchen walls.
Gerald Beliveau from Edmonton, a carpenter by trade, was instrumental in all of these work projects during his three weeks of voluntary service.
At the conclusion of all of these work projects and my visit to La Victoria, we dedicated the Centre to the late Maria Rivas, a woman with a young family who spent her life sharing loving service with families in greater need than her own. Maria died of cancer 10 years ago at the age of 50.
Her widower, children and grandchildren joined the women of the newly – named ´Centro Maria Rivas´ for a time of prayer, words of remembrance and celebration of her life.
Much gratitude is expressed by the women of the Maria Rivas Centre and by me to our Congregation for sharing the charism of Charity; also to the many people of Annunciation Parish for their generosity in providing ongoing programs and new ways by which families in this particular area can look forward with hope to a brighter future!