Celebrating 25 Years in Chile

Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet | 25 Years in Chile

Sisters, associates, consociates, and familia de San Jose celebrate the presence of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in Chile.

Twenty-five Years Walking Together, Sharing Our Lives

 By Sister Catherine McNamee, Congregational Leadership

Twenty-five years ago four Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet arrived in Talca, Chile, invited by Don Carlos, Bishop of that diocese “to walk with the people, to accompany them in their daily lives, to be a presence among them.” 

Over these 25 years 11 sisters have been a presence in Talca, Curepto, and Vilches.  Only one of the original “founding members,” Margaret O´Rourke, is still living (in Talca).  Sister Marie Loyola Sanders died in 1996.  Sister Rose Mary Haley and Sister Eileen (Elena) Smits both died in the spring of this year.  Sister Mary Joseph Wilson who had also served a number of years in both Talca and Curepto went home to God in October. 

The other six living members of the Chilean mission all returned for this anniversary celebration:  Rosanne Belpedio, Marcelina (Marcie) Felipe,  Michele Humke, Eiko Maki, Mary Ellen Lawrence, and Catherine McNamee.

The excitement of all the members of the Familia de San José, as well as other members of the parish community, was palpable as they eagerly awaited the arrival of these long awaited friends and companions.  As each one of the individuals or groups arrived, abrazos, laughter and tears of joy could be seen all over town. 

All the other arriving visitors—Sisters,  Associates, Consociates, O´hana, Sisters from Perú and other friends from the United States—soon got caught up in the spirit as they began to have a real experience of the way in which all these CSJs and FSJs, as well as other dear neighbors and friends had been walking and sharing together over the past quarter century.

Ten days later, as the celebration was drawing to a close, and after similar experiences in Curepto and Vilches, all agreed that this shared spirit and charism, these new ways of weaving our lives together, have to be continued into the future wherever our various life situations may take us. 

Fortunately modern technology can keep frequent contacts alive between face-to-face visits whenever these can be arranged. These new relationships are just beginning!

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