Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará

New Mission Opens: Charity, Guyana!   

While the majority of the sisters of the U.S.A. Province were participating in the Annual Pro-Life March in Washington, DC, four sisters in New York City were preparing for the new foundation of the SSVM in Guyana. Mother Mercy, our Provincial, and Sr. Mary Ark of the Covenant, a sister from the Juniorate, went along to help get things ready, while Mother Maria Rosa Mistica and Sister Maria del Santo Niño were leaving in order to become the first  permanent members of the new mission.  Here is their chronicle.

The 23rd of January, 2007 at 1:30 in the morning, in the company of Fr. Gustavo Campo, IVE,  a missionary in Santa Rosa, Guyana, we began the flight toward the new mission. We arrived at the airport of Georgetown, the capital of Guyana, at 7:30 in the morning. The Guyana that was waiting for us was very hot with a temperature of 100 ° F (38° C) and very humid--the priest told us “this is the Guyanese winter.”

It was a challenge to arrive at Charity, our final destination, with the 10 suitcases that we brought for the new foundation (besides 3 small suitcases and 5 backpacks!). Really, all of it was an adventure while Fr. Gustavo and Mother Mercy negotiated with the drivers of the boats that the rest of the luggage must be carefully watched so that nothing disappeared.  But at the end we and our bags happily arrived to Charity at 2 PM. Once in Charity after passing by the Parish of St. Francis Xavier to greet the priests, we went to our new house and got to work. While one was cleaning, the others went to buy some things, and another made the beds with the mosquito nets. That is how we passed the first day of our trip. Two days later Fr. Mariano Varela blessed our new convent.

The people of Charity and the surrounding towns of Queenstown, Suddie, Henrietta, St. John, etc. were very happy with our arrival and very anxious to be able to help us with whatever we might need. As we get to know the 10 communities that the IVE priests attend to, we are becoming familiar with the customs, food, and even the Guyanese English. The priests have asked that we take care of all of the catechesis and preparation for the liturgy in the communities under their pastoral ministry.

The second week in Guyana we spent in Georgetown, where we had to arrange our immigration papers. During the four days that we were there we stayed in the convent of the Sisters of Mercy, an American congregation that founded a mission in Guyana in 1894. These sisters, with ardent charity, not only housed us but also organized a welcome gathering with all of the religious that are working in this city. We visited the Ursuline Sisters who have a primary school, a secondary school, and an orphanage.  We also visited the Carmelite Sisters of St. Joseph, a congregation from Trinidad-Tobago who have a home for university students. The next day we visited the Missionaries of Charity of Mother Teresa, who take care of the elderly poor and have an infant home. That same day we were received by the Jesuit Fathers, whose superior was one of the first Guyanese vocations. Finally, we were received by Bishop Francis Alleyne, our bishop, who was very happy with our presence in Guyana. He sent us on our way with a blessing asking God the grace for us to be faithful to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit in our missionary work.

We give thanks to God for this new foundation of the SSVM, and while we say goodbye until the next Guyanese chronicle, we ask that you do not forget about us in your prayers and sacrifices.