"One light ignites another
light. One fire ignites another fire. One heart that is on fire with love ignites the intire world with God."
San Francisco Coll y Guitart, Founder
of the Dominican Sisters of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin, Canonized
The bus ride took most of the day, winding through
the mountains that surround Chichicastenango. The two Dominican Sisters got off
the bus, and then hiked for several more hours, arriving shortly before dusk to the small village where Maria Estefina* lived. She was in her early teens.
The Sisters went to the village to try and convince Maria Estefina’s family to allow her to come back to the Internado
in Chichicastenango, to finish school.
*Not the actual name.
The family had called for her return so that the young girl could be sold into marriage, something that still happens
in many indigenous parts of Guatemala. The Sisters wanted to do all they could
to convince the family to allow this young girl the chance to at least complete her education.
|artwork by S. Donna Korba, IHM
1992, the Dominican Sisters of the Anunciata (the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary) have been living in Chichicastenango,
Guatemala, at the Internado, caring for the girls who live and go to school there. There
are usually six sisters there at a time caring for about two hundred girls, age 5 to about 18.
All of the girls come from poverty – their families live in remote mountain villages and towns around Chichicastenango. The effects of Guatemala’s 36 years of civil unrest are ever-present. Some girls have lost a parent, parents, siblings and other family members. Many have witnessed the loss,
which often has occurred in violence.
They come to the internado –
and they have a new home; a new family that consists of the Sisters and other girls whose backgrounds mirror theirs. The hope
is that through the education they receive, they will gain the ability to improve the communities they return to. And that the generations that follow will do the same.
It’s working. Girls have left to open the first schools in their communities. They have become social workers. Some have accepted the calling of religious vocation. And some have married, had families,
and realized the importance of school for the children they are raising.
None of this would have been possible without the Dominican Sisters who have dedicated their lives, seven day a week,
twenty four hour a day to the care of these young girls. The involvement of Our
Lady of Lourdes parish family and friends since the year 2000 has eased the concerns of meeting their daily needs, and has
also improved the conditions at the Internado considerably (See PAST PROJECTS and CURRENT PROJECTS].
The importance of this ministry and its continuation is vital. Go to GET INVOLVED/BECOME A SPONSOR]