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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • SCL celebrate 50 years in South America

  • And the SCL's presence in Peru continues to this day, something that was celebrated this past weekend during at an All Community Gathering for the Sisters of Charities of Leavenworth and their associates.
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  • And the SCL's presence in Peru continues to this day, something that was celebrated this past weekend during at an All Community Gathering for the Sisters of Charities of Leavenworth and their associates.
    Today, Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth work in three areas of Peru, providing various services.
    But their work in South America started in 1963 in the city Talara, which is located in northern Peru. Sister Irene Skeehan was a member of original group of Sisters of Charity who went to Peru.
    She said the decision for the sisters to go to South America came after Pope John XXIII had requested a tithe for Latin American countries.
    "We embarked on a three-week sea voyage," Skeehan recalled.
    The sisters arrived at Talara in November. Skeehan said they taught school and provided services as nurses.
    She said the none of the sisters spoke Spanish when they arrived.
    Skeehan said she had to survive teaching in a first-grade classroom with limited Spanish skills for a month until school let out for what is summer in Peru. The sisters then took private Spanish lessons.
    "I was there three years," she said.
    While the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth no longer work in Talara, they provide services in Peru in the communities of Chalaco, Chuschi and Piura.
    Sister Elena Mack, director of Latin American missions for the SCL, said there are 11 Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth in Peru. Nine of them are from Peru. The other two are from North America.
    Mack said the sisters' services in Peru evolve as they discover new needs.
    She said water filters have just started being used in all three of the mission areas. She said the sisters help people learn how to use the filters to purify water.
    She said the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth and their associates help raise money for the filters.
    Sister Eileen Haynes, who serves on the SCL Community Council, said it's expected that families who receive the filters will share them with others.
    "So it's a ripple effect," she said.
    The Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth also have worked to provide water filters to people in South Sudan.
    Over the years, Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth also have worked in Guatemala, Ecuador and Bolivia. But the SCL no longer has a presence in these countries.
    About 300 people attended the All Community Gathering, which was held Thursday through Sunday at the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth and University of Saint Mary campus.
    The event included a bilingual mass Friday in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the SCL South American missions.
    Page 2 of 2 - This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the SCL associates program. Associates are people who share values of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth.

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