News & Events


IHM Associates Minister in Sicuani during Pandemic

All of our associates and their families are affected by the pandemic that is sweeping our world. Associates are finding new ways to carry out their ministries in these days of quarantine, extreme caution, and loss. Our associates in Peru have adapted their approach to ministry as they continue to work closely with Sisters Eileen Egan and Ancilla Maloney in Sicuani. Far from us, these associates live the IHM Core Values and Charism in extreme conditions and circumstances. Some might say that our associates and IHM sisters in Peru ministered in extreme conditions and circumstances before Covid19 – now it is all the more challenging.

During the quarantine, which continued in the Andean mountainous region until June, Sister Eileen offered a catechetical program for children, teens, and adults. Our associate, Casilda Morocho, secretary in the parish of San Felipe, where three IHM sisters minister, rode her bicycle to the parish each morning to help with the program. Casilda assisted the sisters in putting together the program, based on the Sunday Gospel according to Matthew, and then helped explain it to the more than 200 people who registered. Mindful of the parishioners’ devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Casilda displayed the statue of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel outside her office for the nine days prior to the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel on July 16. She continued to do so afterwards to help the people remember to pray for Our Lady's protection and intercession as families tried to cope with the presence of the coronavirus. Casilda´s husband, Andres, a primary grade teacher, is assigned to a rural school in the mountains but these days he has to teach from home by cell phone. When Andres is able to return to the school for class, his 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade students will be in a one room school. Imagine teaching first graders to read by cell phone! And, the signals in the mountains often fail. Bishop Pedro Bustamante celebrates Mass for the parish each Sunday evening. It is broadcast over Radio Sicuani or on Facebook. Many of the parishioners watch the Mass, listen to the bishop’s sermon, and then respond to questions and write their own prayer relative to the Gospel.

Casilda Morocho with statue of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Our associate, Delfina Hualla, was teaching religion last year in a high school near her home. Delfina is not a tenured teacher and was reassigned to a new school where she doesn´t know the students. Most students don´t have computers and, if they do, there is no face-to-face instruction. Their only option is to listen to a class presentation on cell phone via What’s App. Some students, who do have phones, are too poor to add minutes to their phone. Delfina’s husband, Julio Cesar, usually assists Sister Ancilla with her library/recreation program, which has not been available since March 15. Julio is also enrolled in the University of Gregoria Santos where he is studying online to be a teacher. Never too busy to lend a hand to the sisters, Delfina and Julio Cesar recently did some repair work and painting at the convent.

Delfina-PeruAssociate-8-20-smDelfina Hualla assisting her husband with repair work for the Sisters

Associate Matilde Rendon has her own little restaurant located on the city plaza, but that, too, has been closed. She has been advertising to sell take-out dinners.

Sicuani associates 820-smMatilde Rendon on the right, in the kitchen of her restaurant on the plaza

Maura Aguilar was in a terrible bus accident with her husband, Domingo, last December. Sadly, he lingered until May when he died from his injuries. Maura was injured also and both were staying in Cusco with their son, Henry, who is a physician. Maura has endured surgery to replace all her teeth and has not yet returned to Sicuani. Maura is vital as a presenter and translator to the Quechua catequesis conferences which Sister Eileen hosts three times a year. These conferences have been cancelled thus far this year.

Maura Aguilar-smMaura Aguilar en-route to her ministry in the Andean mountainous region

Our Peruvian associates’ commitment to IHM Core Values and Charism is evident in all aspects of local and parish life in Sicuani. We support them in spirit and prayer always and never more than in this, the 175th anniversary year of our beloved congregation. Their courage, valor, and endurance in their own life circumstances provide a model for us as we all strive to carry on in these pandemic times.