St. Anne Catholic Community Catholic Extension
The St. Anne Catholic Community has generously assisted Catholic Extension funded projects with our Lenten Almsgiving for the past five years. It has been a wonderful partnership—allowing people in our parish to learn about the essential work of Catholic Extension in the more than 90 “mission” dioceses in the United States and, at the same time, to provide resources that make possible a myriad of human development projects. This weekend, we look at the Diocese of Ponce, Puerto Rico.
Hurricane/Earthquake Recovery – Ponce, Puerto Rico
In 2017, Saint Anne kindly agreed to support the Hermanas Dominicas in the Diocese of Ponce, Puerto Rico. The original plan was for St. Anne to build a Casa de Salud, or house of healing for the sisters in Ponce.
When the pandemic hit, the When the hurricane hit in September, Catholic Extension was following typical protocol and awaiting a final report from the Hermanas Dominicas before distributing the funds St. Anne donated. The sisters were days away from hosting their largest annual fundraiser, an event that would have provided the funds needed to reach their own goals and thus open up the door for a grant by Catholic Extension.
Then the hurricanes hit. Because of the generous donation by St. Anne, Catholic Extension provided both counsel and funding to the Diocese of Ponce, in response to the horrible damage sustained after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
In December of 2017, St. Anne’s was featured in an article by CBS news. Cardinal Blase Cupich visited Puerto Rico to see the damage from Hurricane Maria first-hand, and to deliver a donation made by St. Anne’s through Catholic Extension. The cardinal was meeting with storm victims on behalf of Pope Francis, who asked Cupich to visit the island.
Here are excerpts from the news article:
“Cupich visited Las Hermanas Dominicas de Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Fátima in Mayaguez, and presented the nuns with a $40,000 check – donations raised by St. Anne Parish in Barrington. Just as important, he communicated to their parishioners a message from Pope Francis: they are not forgotten.
In the strongest of a series of earthquakes to plague the island of Puerto Rico, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake rocked the island on January 7, 2020 and terrified residents. In these moments of fear and uncertainty, Catholic faith communities came together for strength and comfort.
Along the Caribbean Sea in Guanica, the Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima were huddled together near the epicenter, where their motherhouse is located. The sisters had to vacate their motherhouse because the building badly damaged by earthquake and afterskocks, and they were afraid it would collapse. They were living in tents outside the convent. Many of the elderly sisters were staying at a Diocesan center until it was secure to go back. A few of the sisters, including their Mother Superior, are living in small wooden homes outside the convent. They were worried for the vulnerable elderly sisters at the convent and are asking people for their support and prayers as they begin to rebuild.
The Catholic Church continues to be a voice on behalf of the most vulnerable and poor who are the most impacted by the earthquakes and now the pandemic. In the heart of these poor communities, we find the presence of the Dominican Sisters. The charism of the Dominican Sisters is “to bring Christ to the family and the family to Christ.” During the pandemic, they continue to visit the sick, attend to the poor, evangelize children and minister in love to youth and adults alike. Congregations like these continued to serve on the “frontlines” in poor Puerto Rican communities. They work tirelessly to form relationships with local families and establish small networks among neighbors.
Even though the sisters are dealing with the loss of their home and a scattering of their community, they manifest the joy of the gospel. Even after decades of service, these women have much to offer. Their displacement has not slowed down their ministry one bit. They immerse themselves in the community so well that as the pandemic continues to cripple the island, they know exactly which families are in need of food, medical supplies, housing and other basic necessities.
Please join us in supporting the Dominican Sisters affected by the pandemic and last year’s earthquakes, on an island that is still recovering from the massive hurricanes that tore communities apart in 2017.
Let our brothers and sisters know that we stand with them in solidarity. Information about how to donate is found on tags in the Gathering Space and online at Give Central.