5000 Years in a 12 hour Day

From 10 am to getting on the 10 pm overnight bus from Lima to Chimbote, the Peru travelers had the intensive “5000 Years of Peruvian History” class intermingled with “Foundations of Incarnate Word Spirituality and History” class.  They all passed both classes with flying colors so they “passed” to the seven-hour bus trip up the Pacific coast and soon they will plunge into “Service in Chimbote” class.

20190517_121344Cardinals “Tweet” at the Museo Larco Entrance

The travelers’ parents will want to check out the Larco Museum pictures and introductory film so that they can have good conversations http://www.museolarco.org/en/  about the brilliant and talented early peoples of Peru who created such fascinating art and architecture.  The museum focuses on 5000 years of Peruvian history and “the intimate bond that existed between pre-Columbian societies and the natural world.” We who are polluting so much of the natural world today can learn from them.

Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish conquistador came to Peru in 1535.  Within fourteen years, the Dominican friars came seeking to spread the gospel. They started Santo Domingo Monastery in 1549   http://www.traveladventures.org/continents/southamerica/santo-domingo-church-lima.shtml


University Students of 1551

Well, actually these are the super students of UIW, doctoral, masters, undergrads, and the life-long learners standing in the Santo Domingo  Monastery Chapter room.  Elizabeth, our guide told us that this room with beautiful mahogany carving was the center of the oldest university in the Americas.  Dominicans have been known for promoting education. They began teaching here in 1551 and their fine educational institutions continue to form people all over the Americas.

We saw a sculpture of St. Catherine of Siena, that determined woman who helped the poor and the sick in Italy and she followed the Dominican charism. Sister Martha Ann had prayed with her in Italy last summer  http://www.globalsistersreport.org/column/spirituality/puppet-and-saint-seeking-truth-55441 We reflected on how St. Rose of Lima followed in the footsteps of St. Catherine of Sienna.


Savannah Sandoval Shared on the Life St. Martin De Porres

The Incarnate Word Sisters’ Constitution emphasizes bringing the love of God “through the promotion of human dignity.” In the Spanish empire both native peoples and African slaves were oppressed. Women were often raped.  Martin De Porres, the son a slave woman, was not respected, but he deeply loved God.  He learned of herbal medicines and healed, he helped the needy, he forgave, and taught forgiveness.  His goodness led to him being held up as a saint, the first black saint of the Americas.


Travelers who are nurses and who are studying health care professions stand in St. Martin’s room

In two hours, we walked where the first university students of the Americas walked, where the first saint of the Americas was buried, and where the first black saint of the Americas loved and healed!  Then we also explored downtown Lima near the Cathedral.


Sister Katty at the “Eye That Cries” Memorial

For many of us the most moving part of the day was with Incarnate Word Sister Katty who is the Director of the I.W. Sisters Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Office. Her Quichua-speaking family had fled the central part of Peru during the time of terrorism when about 70,000 people had been killed. She took us to the “Eye That Cries” Memorial with stones that have names remembering the victims from a three-year old to one who was one hundred and three.


Sister Katty holds a marker that says Sister Irene

With most of the population of Peru trapped in poverty, some called for reform.  Unfortunately, both those calling for reform and the central government turned to violence rather than listening to the other from about 1980 to 2000.  Read “Danger Did Not Drive Us Out of Peru” to learn a little of those years of violence and the Incarnate Word Sisters’ decision to stay among the people of Peru.     http://www.globalsistersreport.org/column/ministry/danger-did-not-drive-us-out-peru-37021   Sister Katty spoke of a North American Sister of another congregation, Sister Irene McCormack who stayed in Peru and was killed.


We prayerfully walked and prayed among the stones. Truth and reconciliation are needed. May we be ministers of compassion, love, truth, and reconciliation in a world needing healing.

What a joy to be with these travelers full of compassion and generosity.

By Sister Martha Ann Kirk, CCVI


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