By Miriam Montero Bereche, Consuelo del Rosario Zapata Crisanto and Juana Rivera Jara, SNDdeN
In 1970, a wonderful dream began in Peru. Three Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur (SNDdeN) from the British Province, Sisters Marie Julia Álvarez, Therese Hartley and Marie Thompson, arrived in Lima, Peru on their way to Negritos. Their first ministry was teaching religion in the schools, helping with catechesis in the parish, discovering where the need was greatest, with possibilities for future work. From that time until 2013, many Sisters have come on Mission to continue this dream.
In 1974, two SNDdeN, with four Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Apparition with whom we lived in Negritos, arrived in Tambogrande. Currently, the parish there has 180 hamlets. In 1978, Sisters Mary Kilpatrick and Agnes Szraga began work in Lima, where there was not any water or electricity at that time. They worked in the parish of Jesus Artesano. Today, we continue in Lima with the Mission at Fe y Alegría School #34. In Tambogrande, we have the responsibility for the Confirmation Program, and the Formation of Family Catechesis and preparation for marriages, in the rural area. We also provide services in physical and mental health and accompaniment in the faith.
The pandemic changed our Jubilee Celebration. However, we were able to celebrate and receive many fruits already sown by all our Sisters. Many families remember with much love what they have received from the SNDdeN. Thousands of people and many professionals are aware of God’s goodness in their lives. They say: The Sisters taught me to pray and even to fight for our rights; they have trained us very well; the Sisters are ours … We are proud also to have a bishop who grew up in Tambogrande, who carries in his veins the entire Notre Dame de Namur formation he received from us. (He was the one who celebrated our central Mass).
In the beginning, the Sisters from other continents assumed full responsibility for the Unit. Now this shared responsibility is mostly carried by the Peruvian Sisters. On December 12, 2020 we will enthrone the statue of Saint Julie in our parish—San Andrés of Tambogrande. This gift recognizes the work of the SNDdeN in our town and villages.