News & Events


Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of IHM Presence in Sicuani, Peru

We Never Knew!

by Sister Ancilla Maloney, IHM
                 {November 2017}

For years I had been in touch with Sister Eileen Egan; I had read her Christmas letters and chatted with her during summer assemblies, but I neverrealized all that being in mission here in Sicuani entailed! I never knew about the Sisters attaching a loud speaker to the roof of their secondhand Land Rover, calling the children in poor, small mountain communities to religion classes or summer programs. Or Sister Mary Elaine, getting on the church PA, calling for parishioners to get out of bed and come to join the children (and their dogs) at Mass! Or Sister Eileen traveling across the tops of the Andes Mountains to give teacher workshops in remote villages, journeying with a team of religious educators singing as they went, Or Eileen sleeping in a tiny space next to a motorcycle or on top of an animal skin infested with bugs. Or Sister Tomasa, so loved by the people for her goodness and generosity. Or, with joy and deep faith in and love for the people we served, joining with other missionaries, native priests, sisters and lay people to work and celebrate life together in the South Andes. On November 7, four IHM Sisters: Ellen Maroney, Rosemary Goulet, Ellen Carney and Mary Elaine Anderson (Mary Elaine was one of the first IHMs to serve in Sicuani with Eileen Egan) arrived in Cusco to join Sisters Eileen, Ancilla and Norma to begin the 25 year anniversary celebration of IHM presence in Sicuani. (Between 1975 and 1984, both Sisters Joel Marie Sheehe and Sister Mary Martha Gardiner also served in the Prelature of Sicuani).

25 years in Sicuani-Eileen and Ancilla

25 years in Sicuani-Peruvians

25 years in Sicuani-Norma

On Wednesday evening the Sisters were treated to a welcome by the girls who live in the IHM House of Studies. They presented a native dance in colorful native costumes and shared their individual stories with their visitors. Eileen, Ancilla, and Norma minister in the parish of San Felipe which also has responsibility for six mountain parishes. Mrs. Maura Aquilar, one of our IHM Associates, leads a liturgical service for the people of the community of Pampa Anza every Sunday. This parish was celebrating Baptisms and First Communions just before the feast of St. Martin de Porres. All the sisters joined Maura and the people in this very unique celebration. Later that day, Father Enrique Laguna, O. Carm., arrived at the sisters´ house to practice for the anniversary Mass with Sister Norma, the sisters, and the musicians in the youth group. Afterwards, they all enjoyed a prayer and a PowerPoint presentation of the history of the mission in Sicuani prepared by Sister Mary Elaine. Then the IHM Associates treated the group to pizza.

Friday was the big day. All the sisters pitched in to decorate and arrange the room in the lovely Wiracocha restaurant for the 80 guests who had worked with the sisters, friends, associates and their families. This celebration was enhanced by the PowerPoint presentation on the history of the mission. At five o´clock the parishioners, friends, three priests and Bishop Pedro Bustamante López arrived for Mass. For an entrance procession, Mary Elaine planned a dance. The sisters and IHM Associates, carrying scarves, danced to a Quechua hymn “Nocanchis Iglesia” (We are Church). Sister Ellen then gave a welcome in Spanish to all present. After the celebration of the liturgy, benches were pushed back and several groups of children and teenagers, wearing colorful costumes, performed native dances. Refreshments for all followed and then presentation of gifts brought by the sisters from the U.S.

Love for the IHM Sisters, joy in celebrating their presence and ministry in this little mountain Prelature with God´s most beloved and chosen people, aptly describe the essence of the 25th Anniversary of IHM presence in Sicuani, Peru!

25 years in Sicuani 2017