Evelyn Garcia met Ana at Centro Cultural where she explained a mural of local artists from Chimbote. (Evelyn’s daughter Adriana Garcia is an outstanding muralist in San Antonio, Texas)
I am super excited that I am traveling to Peru with the Women’s Global Connection, a ministry of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word like the University of the Incarnate Word. Since our first meeting in February, I knew it was a chance of my lifetime. My name is Evelyn. I graduated from Incarnate Word College in 1970 with my BSN. The nursing seed was planted by my 2nd grade teacher at St John Berchman’s Grade School. She was a nun with the sisters of St Augustine and given the name Sister Mary MARTHA. She was also a nurse who traveled to developing countries during the summer months and delivered care to under served populations. She would tell us stories about her missionary work during class and applied it to content we were learning. My best friend and I set our goal in 2nd grade to become Registered Nurses like Sister Mary MARTHA.
During my senior year in college, I had a professor in Public Health who told us about a traveling group of health care workers who visited developing countries and delivered health care. It was called the Project Ship Hope. (Note from Sr. Martha Ann: Sister Charles Marie Frank, CCVI, worked on Ship Hope. When she saw the challenges and needs in Peru, she urged the Incarnate Word Sisters to begin ministry there in the early 1960’s.)
I thought “that’s what want to do!” Soon after graduation, I worked at the Lutheran General Hospital and bought a car…a red Camaro. By 1972, i was working at a Mental Health Field Program. I was always drawn to places that served the marginalized in our city. By 1973, I was married and had a child then in in 1977 we had another child, a mortgage, another car and bills. Gone was my dream to travel with the Project Ship Hope. My path took me instead to Bexar County Hospital, back to LGH, and then to St. Phiilps College SPCas an instructor in Vocational Nursing. Teaching was never in my dreams but then again Sr. Mary MARTHA was a teacher and a nurse. At SPC, I began a 32-year career with the Alamo College District. By 1989, I had attained a Masters in Nursing from UTHSC and received a transfer to San Antonio College to teach in the Associate Degree RN program. I served many 1st generation college students at the colleges. I am a 1st generation to go to college myself. With my students, we served many under served patients in hospitals in our city of SA. I also served our patients in a 2nd summer part time job for 15 years as a Home Health PRN RN delivering care to our patients in their homes. I retired as a Professor from the Alamo Colleges in 2006.
Fast forward to February 2019 and I find myself at an information session at UIW about a WGC Peru Immersion trip. I was hooked. I talked to my husband and he has always been supported in my 46 years of marriage and he said, “You go but i cannot accompany you because of my mobility issues”.
And now I find myself in Peru 50 years after graduation and at 71 years of age achieving a dream. It is not the Project Ship Hope. Instead it is a WGC Peru Immersion Trip. And guess what? Sister MARTHA Ann Kirk is the name of one of our leaders. This trip was meant to be.
As Sister Dorothy Ettling CCVI (1940 -2014) eloquently said, “At it’s core, the mission is about transforming us from viewers of a disconnected and conflicted international reality, to participants in creating a more interconnected and responsive global community.”
By Evelyn Garcia