Sisters Francis Sanchez and Rose Kowalski have shared updates from the Rosita convent and surrounding areas in Nicaragua. We ask for prayers for them and for the thousands of other Nicaraguans impacted by the two recent hurricanes, Eta and Iota.
Greetings to Friends and Donors!
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this month's news is very valuable. Visit the Adelante Mujer webpage to see what our students and doctors are up to.
Rita Thomas, Board Member
Adelante Mujer, Inc.
Congratulations to Sister Guadalupe Aguilar!
Sister Guadalupe recently completed her coursework and research for pre-school/kindergarten education. She completed defense of her Monograph and passed with “flying colors”.
Sister Guadalupe is now a fully licensed preschool/kindergarten teacher in Nicaragua where she will continue in the ministry of education.
On October 25, Sister Dulce María Rodríguez López received her Diploma in Laudato Si’ and Sustainable Development from the Universidad Centroamericana.
The diploma program was a project of Asociación Roncalli-Juan XXIII and was sponsored by the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) of England. 21 professionals from CAFOD partner agencies strengthened their knowledge on climate change, agroecology, and resilience through the lens of the “Care of the Common Home” as referenced in Pope Francis’s encyclical, Laudato Si’. Sister Dulce attended as a representative of CANTERA - a center in Managua for promoting education, growth and development among the people.
The inaugural diploma program began on June 14, 2019 and was taught by Alirio Cáceres Aguirre who has a Master’s Degree in theology and eco-theology. A mixed methods approach was utilized to allow participants to learn in classrooms and in the Nicaraguan forests.
Cantera was founded 30 years ago in Nicaragua by two Sisters of St. Agnes, Sister Anabel Torres and Sister Mary Hartman. It is based on Paulo Freire’s belief in popular education where people determine for themselves how to work together to change the realities for hundreds of Nicaraguans. Cantera now has 29 different services ranging from holistic health to reforestations campaigns to learning activities to leadership training and a farm that includes beekeeping.
The Clean Your Closet for Cantera rummage sale events began in Santa Rosa, CA, by Alice Waco and Bill McGee, two strong supporters of Cantera. Board members in Baton Rouge, LA, followed the tradition and when I became a member of Friends of Cantera, Inc. board I realized that this was a way money could be raised for Cantera through Marian University and the Fond du Lac Community. The first event was a garage sale on a bitter cold Ash Wednesday in 2014 when $350.00 was raised.
Marian University’s Social Justice Committee now sponsors the event. Dozens of people bring items to the garage at the President’s office building during May. Many Marian personnel, sisters, and CSA associates help transport items to where the sale occurs on Memorial Day weekend. Students, staff, faculty sisters and associates helped sort items that covered over 50 tables in the Dining room and overflowed to the parking lot with racks of clothes and furniture items.
Reasonable donations are asked and people give as they can which helps many people in Fond du Lac who would not afford a couch or chair, etc. otherwise. Others donate more than an item would be in other rummage sales, knowing that it is a good cause. Since it is our 6th year, people come up to me with their donation saying, “I know the good work that this sale helps, so here is my donation.”
This year $3,225.00 was donated for items and two generous donors gave one-time donations totaling $3,000.00 making this year’s total of $6,225.00 the best year yet!
Personally, it is a gift to be a part of this event. I began because I am serving on the board and had an obligation to support the organization. Now I treasure working with the many people who support it and gather to work hard hauling items, arranging them for sale, and packing them up to go to the St. Vincent de Paul Store. They are the one who make this a special event, knowing the great work that the many Cantera people in Nicaragua are doing every day. I have been motivated to continue being secretary of the Board of Friends of Cantera, Inc. by my personal witness of how Freire’s philosophy has been lived out through the work of Cantera. When I visited Cantera in 2014, I met professors at the University of Managua who had been in gangs in their youth until they started being part of Cantera’s leadership program for teens. With scholarship assistance from Cantera, they finished high school, graduated from college and earned degrees allowing them to be professors who now work with today’s youth through Cantera. I pray that today’s youth who get assistance through Cantera will follow this example into the future.
The Spring Cantera newsletter is available to view here: Friends of Cantera Newsletter - Spring 2019
Help sponsor future women-doctors in Nicaragua. Sister Ann, Adelante Mujer foundress, has received some special gifts from the women in the program as a token of their gratitude for all she has done for them. Without Adelante Mujer, these women would not have been able to become medical doctors. When you donate to Adelante Mujer, every penny received goes to helping cover expenses of the schooling needed to become medical doctors in Nicaragua. Here is an update from Nicaragua.
On Saturday, March 23, 2019, in Bilwi/Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua the fifth class of doctors raised their right hands and pronounced Hippocratic Oath taken by doctors through the ages. Congratulations to 14 industrious young women for their courage to pursue higher education! Congratulations to their families who accompanied them through six years of significant challenges and rewarding accomplishments. Congratulations to every donor to Adelante Mujer because your gift not only blessed these doctors with a profession but will also benefit thousands of Nicaraguans by the health care they provide for decades into the future.
A dream of Sister Ann McKean, CSA, PhD, begun ten years ago, continues to reap innumerable blessings. Congratulations, Doctors! Thank you, Donors!
CSA Sisters Celebrate Jubilee and CSA Days 2019 in Nicaragua.