MINISTRY IN ARGENTINA
Presently six Sisters of St. Casimir minister in Argentina in two Argentine cities: Avellaneda and Cordoba. They minister as teachers, catechists, psychologists, tutors, musicians, and pastoral associates. They are engaged in training lay people as Catechists and encourage the lay men and women to take an active part within parish groups and other ministerial opportunities in which the Sisters are engaged. The Sisters also minister in villas (barrios) on the outskirts of the cities and attend to the needs of the poor in those areas. In addition to direct service — providing food, clothing, and other basic needs — the Sisters of St. Casimir have initiated and participated in intercultural exchange programs with the residents in Cordoba’s villa and candle-making enterprise with the residents in Avellaneda’s villa.
SSC ASSOCIATES IN AVELLANEDA
In the city of Avellaneda, the Sisters’ presence and visibility within the parish and local community have given rise to a strong Associate program where the people pray with the Sisters and often assist in their ministry. Associates recommit annually in a missioning ceremony. Read about the activities of the Argentine SSC Associates in the Spring issue of the SSC newsletter, Journeys, and in the Argentine Associates newsletter, Peregrinando (“Together on the Journey”).
ARGENTINE MINISTRY BEGAN WITH EDUCATION
The Sisters’ Argentine ministry began in 1941, when they began serving in elementary schools belonging to a parish. This was a relatively new approach in Argentina since most communities of women religious ministering there had established private schools which they owned and operated. As in the United States, the Sisters in Argentina demonstrated the leadership qualities of Catholic Sisters in the public arena at a time when few women occupied leadership positions. The Sisters have always sought ways to respond to the needs of others both within the parish community as well as outside of it. Though there is only one Sister of St. Casimir currently teaching full time in a school in Cordoba, all the Sisters maintain strong relationships with teachers and past students from their years in the schools in Avellaneda and in Rosario.
LIVING THE VISION OF VENERABLE MOTHER MARIA KAUPAS
Venerable Mother Maria had envisioned sending Sisters to South America to work among the Lithuanian immigrants. Although she did not live to see this become a reality, the Sisters of St. Casimir ministered to the Lithuanian immigrants in Avellaneda (outside of Buenos Aires) from the start of their Argentine ministry. Later they were to administer and teach in three parish schools – one in Avellaneda, one in Rosario, and one in Cordoba. In the United States, Mother Maria addressed the needs of the Lithuanian immigrants, then opened her heart to incorporate all who sought the talents, skills and self-giving of her Sisters. This is true in Argentina where each of the Sisters shares her gifts, talents, and faith wherever they minister.
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