On October 4, 1968 the Sisters of Charity Halifax began a mission of evangelization and solidarity with the people of Peru that would span the communities of La Victoria in Chiclayo, Cajamarca, Lima and Ilo. 50 years later, the Sisters could have never imagined the jubilation and excitement leading up to the golden celebration for October 13, 2018.
The Sisters of Charity Halifax’s mission was in response to Pope (Saint) John XXIII’s request to serve and evangelize the Global South. Priests from the Archdiocese of Halifax – Yarmouth, as well as priests and lay missionaries from the Scarboro Foreign Missions Society, joined the Sisters as they spread the charism of charity to the Peruvian people. The Sister’s mission in Peru included 38 people with 19 Sisters, 7 Halifax priests, 1 Oblate priest, 3 Scarboro priests, and 8 lay Scarboro missionaries.
The mission provided life-enriching experiences to all who served. “I experienced joyful witness as I never envisioned I would”, recalls Sister Cecilia Hudec, SC, missioned 11 years in Peru spanning 1979 to 1990. “The most profound experience of the mission were the relationships I created with the Peruvian people, especially as I witnessed their unwavering love of God” Hudec adds.
Father James (Jim) Richards, Parish Priest of St. Peter Roman Catholic Church in Dartmouth, NS, joined the Sisters mission in the years 1973 to 1978. “From learning a new language, building churches, and being present as Peruvian’s worshipped, nosotros acompañamos (we accompanied in Spanish) the Peruvians in their faith journey”, reminisces Richards. “I had a sense of adventure and an almost romanticized vision of being a missionary priest. The opportunity to serve in Peru has had an extraordinary impact on my life’s ministry, central to my baptismal and priestly vocation,” says Richards.
The 50th anniversary celebration is in San Jose Obrero Church, La Victoria on Saturday, October 13, 2018. Many Sisters who served on the mission will celebrate with friends, family, Peruvian friends and parishioners from the four areas in Peru where the Sisters served. For more information, visit their website or see the Sisters of Charity Halifax Facebook page.