June 14, 2008


Around the world and back again, or so it seems. Pat, Anne, Andrea, and I were accompanied by our fearless leader, Maria Shuh from the Albany Province, to Ica and the neighboring towns where our sisters were missioned for many years. It was Maria´s first mission here in Peru, some twenty-eight years ago, and it was a delight to make the trip with her. Some of my favorite memories are of the people´s faces as they saw who was in the car with the rest of us. Five gringas stuffed in a taxi must be quite the sight to begin with. ¨Shuh¨they called out over and over. The relationships that our sisters made there were obviously profound. Just one more time when I was so happy to say that I, too, am a Sister of St. Joseph.

We met with a woman named Lasti whom Maria had contacted to tell her we were coming. Lasti is a native Peruvian who had been in our community at one time. Lasti continues to minister in the area and is doing incredible things to organize women around the areas of personal-development, equal pay and rights, domestic violence, family, etc. We visited a new area of Ica that has recently been "invaded", as the term was used. The families have moved from the mountains and have created a little village built into the outlying sand dunes. How the homes do not simply slide down the hill is beyond me. We arrived at a little pavilion of sorts and were introduced into a circle of mainly women and children. The group had gathered to get some UNICEF food stuffs for their children and were moving into first communion preparation for some of the kids. The ease of the women, their intent eyes, and most gracious welcome were overwhelming. I loved the children! I pulled out my camera to have some fun with them, to take their pictures and let them see themselves. They were just like children anywhere, some who jumped into every picture and some shy ones who crawled back to their mothers´laps. The custom of greeting here, at least among women, is a short embrace with a kiss on one cheek. The little kids kissed us over and over as we left. Instant acceptance and love.

We stayed the second night in a little desert oasis housing more tourists than anything else. There is some legend about a woman turned mermaid that we couldn´t quite get straight, but supposedly it is she who made the surrounding dunes and the water itself. Housing is always interesting here and I have learned to always carry toilet paper even if you´ve paid for your hotel room. When I was teaching I always had Kleenex in my pocket. Similar habit, different need. We had pancakes for breakfast, which was a first, and I got to climb some sand dunes, which my body appreciated before the five hour bus trip home. I can´t remember if I´ve mentioned the bus trips yet or not. Thus far, no bathroom on the bus, although we have been told that for our eighteen hour ride there will be one. There is a TV, although every movie has been of the shoot em up, murder type. Yesterday we watched much of Mission Impossible with Tom Cruise dubbed over in some crazy, Spanish voice. I´m still waiting for The Little Mermaid.

A rest day today. Tomorrow a group of us is going to the men´s prison for mass with one of our sisters who ministers there. Then off on Monday for three days at our newest Peruvian mission, Chasquitambo (not sure if I spelled that right), which you may or may not be able to find on the map. More upon our return.



  1. I hope you know, Sarah, that all your talk of pictures without posts of some is only building anticipation of a slideshow upon your return. Glad to hear all is well.


  2. Thanks for your update on your adventures!! What a great experience being with our sisters in Peru!!! Looking forward to seeing your pictures and hearing more about Peru!!
    Take care,

  3. Oh to see the faces that you see! I can't wait for pictures. I am really eager for Pat's return. It will be like two 'home' comings of stories! Thanks you for being with and among our sisters. Are the women in formation from Peru with you on your travels?


  4. This is the first I have had time to read and enjoy your wonderful descriptions. Haing lived a very short while in Lima, Ica and Chincha, I can really relate to your stories. I even remember Lasti, who was still in our community when I was there. Maria Shuh showed me around Pachacutec, where we celebrated Midnight Mass on Christmas. I am so proud of our sisters in Peru, and am very glad you are heving this opportunity. Please give our sisters my love, even if they do not remember me.
    Love and peace to you.

  5. Hi, Sarah!This will be brief since we are sharing a borrowed computer for the PM. Ours is not yet operational for the internet.

    You sound as if you are adjusting rather well and learning a great deal about people. Once both of us are back in the USA we will have much to compare! Just know that I am praying for you, too.

    Pat M

  6. Surprise, Sarah! It is I! You have captured so well our experiences here in Peru. Truly, as unusal as it is, I have been, at times, actually lost for words--even in English!--to express myself and my feelings.What a great experience we are sharing together as THE Novice and the Director of THE Novice as well as with Anne, Andrea and so many of our dear Sisters here.

    Love to you. I will see you in a few minutes as we prepare to head out on yet another Trek into northern Peru!

    Love to you, Sarah Jane!

    Mary Patricia

  7. Laurie Kertz asked about you, Sarah, and your Peruvian travels when in St Louis over the weekend of June 14th.
    Blessings on you as you share your beautiful smile!


  8. Dear all,
    This is the first opportunity to read about your experience and attempt a comment. You bring it to life on my monitor! I am so excited for you. Savor every moment. I can certainly relate as it reminds me of happy times in Mexico and the people there. Blessings on you and safe travels. My love especially to Marie Schuh.
    Pat Nicholson,CSJ

  9. How wonderful to hear from you, Sarah, on behalf of all of the travelers. You have given us such a rich account of your memorable experiences. Thank you for this adventure that you are experiencing, and for giving us the written benefit of your trip. Much love to Pat Quinn, Anne Davis, Andrea, Pat V., and keep lots for yourself.

    Paulette Gladis

  10. Sarah Jane, my dear. What a wonderful surprise to hear you last night. You made not my day, but the rest of the two weeks until Pat returns. What wonderful experiences you are having. I know you are making the most of everything. I think about you every time I pass your empty room. You are there in spirit,
    Love, prayers and hugs. Paula