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An Embroidery Machine for Contemplative Sisters in Peru
There are just 16 priests ministering here in the 32 parishes of this vast territory. And there is also a shortage of catechists and religious Sisters to help them.
The Apostolic Prelature of Ayaviti in southern Peru covers an area of over 12,500 square miles but has a population of just 300,000. Some parts of this region are among the poorest and most neglected regions of the entire country.
The Catholic Church here faces major problems and challenges. Although some 96% of the population is nominally Catholic, many people have become estranged from the Church as a result of the grave shortage of priests. There are just 16 priests ministering here in the 32 parishes of this vast territory. And there is also a shortage of catechists and religious Sisters to help them. Many of the people consequently know little or nothing about their Catholic faith, and the various sects are continuing to spread rapidly.
And yet, Bishop Kay Martin Schmalhausen does see some signs of hope. One reason is the presence of the contemplative congregation of the Trinitarian Sisters, who have been living in the prelature since 2011. They live an enclosed life and devote themselves to prayer.
Bishop Schmalhausen is delighted to have these contemplative religious in his prelature. For even though they are not directly involved in pastoral work, the bishop nonetheless writes: "With their prayers they are helping to support the pastoral work in our prelature, and it should also be said that we are delighted to see how the vocations to the enclosed life are on the increase – and with them the blessings they bring."
He is convinced that the prayers of these religious are helping young people in the region to respond to the call of God and to embrace without fear the calling that "God has addressed to them from all eternity." He has also seen an increase in the number of people attending Holy Mass, and of young people taking part in the catechetical classes in the parishes. The bishop sees this, too, as a fruit of the Sisters' prayer.
At present the community has four permanently professed Sisters and another four women who are still undergoing their formation. In order to support themselves, they have a small workshop in which they sew and embroider liturgical vestments and furnishings. A computerized embroidery machine will help them immensely in their work. We are proposing to help them for this with a grant of $10,000.
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