By Sister Kris Schrader, ASC
After 33 years of loving service, I am saying farewell to my ministry in Guatemala. I will return to the States in June.
It all feels surreal, and somehow not possible to leave this place where Adorers have served since 1988.
Anastasia Rubenacker, Kathleen McGuire, and I came to Guatemala in 1988 as a step in discerning the possibility of a ministry commitment. After prayer and sharing with the then-Ruma Province leadership and Precious Blood Sisters from Dayton, Ohio, I came to Guatemala in 1988 followed by two Dayton sisters in January 1989.
Initially, I worked in pastoral care, but later aided a local initiative among villagers to establish a secondary school.
Much of my work has been training of teachers and spearheading outreach programs to women of few resources and no formal education. And in the process, a great love and devotion to our community’s founder, St. María De Mattias, has flowered in these rural communities.
Sister Mary Anthony Mathews, at age 73, came in 1991 to establish a library and prepare children for studies. In 1993, Sister Dani Brought arrived to help establish and grow a health care project. Sister Joan Hornick did pastoral ministry here for five years. Many of our sisters came to visit and support us.
There is no doubt that we chose to respond to what we saw as the most critical needs: health care and education. In each area, we were able to co-create with the Guatemalans projects that have had such a significant impact on their quality of life and future possibilities.
Hundreds of graduates from the Maria De Mattias Institute have gone on for further studies and are now working professionals. Almost all of the current teaching team are graduates.
The Sangre de Cristo healthcare project is a model of integrated services, education, prevention, treatment and environmental health and is recognized in the country as an excellent example of how a health care project could be organized.
These projects continue under the leadership of the Guatemalans.
I’ll be sharing more in future blogs about the people and things I have treasured most.