Calle 65 n. 532 X 58 Y 62
Colonia, Mulchechen 97370
Kanasin, Yucatan, MEXICO
Hermanas de San Juan Bautista
Preparar el camino al Señor
Dios ti ama.
Since the first 30 years of its foundation, the missionary effort has been an important part of the story of the Sisters of St John the Baptist. Their first missionary extension was in 1906 to North America with the start of the Sisters' new ministry in Newark, NJ. Ninety years later, the Baptistine Sisters again initiated a mission foundation in North America. This time among the poorest of the poor in Yucatan, Mexico.
In 1996 at the invitation of the Archbishop of Yucatan a small group of Baptistine Sisters arrived at the Parish of San Antonio de Padua in Merida, the capital of the State of Yucatan, to help meet the pastoral needs of the people. Situated at the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, the beautiful city of Merida is tropically warm and humid, has a combination of beautiful modern and ancient buildings - and is home to a growing population of impoverished squatters in its outlying areas.
Since the pastor and his associate are the only priests in the area, they warmly welcomed the Baptistine Sisters to the Parish of San Antonio de Padua.
Because San Antonio de Padua parish covers a large area and because most of the people are too poor to have a means of getting to the main Church, the parish is comprised of 14 centers - most at great distances from each other. Only three centers and the main Church have the Blessed Sacrament reserved. The other centers are make-shift at best - some are only a small field and a bell. The two parish priests rotate celebrating Mass at the parish centers. On the Sundays when there is no priest the Sisters and lay catechists conduct worship services at the other sites.
The apostolic work of the Sisters and the postulant who has joined them is varied and extensive. Each day finds them doing home visits, bringing not only Communion to the sick but food, clothing and medicine to those most in need. The Sisters teach religious education classes and prepare both young and old to receive the sacraments. Because the wealthy willing donate good, used clothing it is not unusual to see children as they celebrate their First Communion, Confirmation, etc, dressed in the finest of outfits.
Bible Study classes, Youth and Music Groups and the training of lay catechists are all important aspects of the Sisters' ministry. Every first Sunday of the month a Day of Retreat is held for all the catechists serving the parish. Additionally, the Sisters are companions and advocates for the poor when they must go to the hospital or to a government office.
The Convent of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a gathering place for young and old alike. The Sisters' Chapel is open to anyone who wishes to come and spend time in prayer, either with the Sisters or privately. After school the squatter children come to the Convent's backyard where they are given snacks, a pleasant place to play, assistance with their homework, and occasionally an English lesson. As money permits, the children's birthdays are celebrated with a party.
The Sisters who come to Merida quickly learn that the "Yucatecos" are a deeply religious people who are eager to hear and receive the Word of God. Though the burdens of their poverty are great they remain gentle, joyful, and above all hospitable. What little they have is eagerly shared with any guest who honors them with a visit. When it is time for visitors to say goodbye, the motto of the Archdiocese of Yucatan becomes a prayer of hope and of invitation: "Ven, Contigo somos Communidad"
"Come, with you we are Community."
The American Province has assumed the responsibility for sponsoring this missionary endeavor. During the summer months the Province tries to send Sisters to Mexico to assist with the many pastoral ministries. Importantly, the American Province helps to financially support the Sisters and their works. Currently, the American Province is raising funds to help the Sisters in Merida buy land on which they can build a center for the children.
If you can help us help them, please send your donation to:
Sr. Rosaria De Maro, C.S.JB.
MISSION TO MEXICO
150 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, NY 10577