Last year, Sister Parish lost several members of our family, both elders and youth. We ask for your prayers for the departed, as well as surviving friends and family.
We are sure that there have been other losses among our extended family that we have not heard about. Please let us know if you have a prayer request to share with your linkage and/or our broader network.
Sister Madeline (Madge) Studer, School Sister of Notre Dame, passed away in the hospital at age 87 with other Sisters of Notre Dame and family members present. Madge’s sister, Rita Struder, was Sister Parish’s first paid staff member, serving as East Coast Coordinator, and Madge assisted with administrative work from the SSND mother house in Mankato, MN. Sister Madge continued serving Sister Parish even after Rita’s death in 2004. Madge kept in touch with Sister Parish co-founder Vicki Schmidt until early last year and died in August.
Bob Heberle, long-time Sister Parish leader from Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Community in Minneapolis, passed away in September 2013. Bob committed himself to social justice in Central America in the early 80s, was on St. Joan of Arc’s first delegation to Tierra Nueva II in 1995, served on the Board of Directors of Sister Parish, Inc. for a number of years, and continued his solidarity work with infectious joy until the end of his life. After he passed away, many members of Sister Parish reached out to us to share their fond memories of Bob and his passion for justice. You can get a sense of this passion in an interview with Bob we posted last year in which he talks about his first experiences with Sister Parish and the impact the relationship had on his life.
In December 2013, Dina Velásquez’s son, José Francisco Chumil Velásquez, was killed. Dina is a member of UPAVIM, a women’s cooperative in Guatemala City that was Sister Parish’s first linkage in Guatemala, and she has also served on the Guatemala Directiva for many years. Dina shared her memories about Sister Parish’s early years and her own transformation in an interview last year.
Also in Guatemala, just before Christmas, Aura Marina Gonzalez and Paul Quiroz Ramirez lost their 27-year-old daughter, Viviana Paola Quiroz Gonzalez, in a traffic accident, along with one of Viviana’s friends. Paul and Aura, both community leaders in Tierra Nueva II, have been involved in the Sister Parish relationship with St. Joan of Arc since it started 19 years ago.
Sue Roman, on the Sister Parish committee at Trinity Episcopal Church in Newtown, CT, lost her son 13-year old son, Ben Roman, suddenly and unexpectedly in May. Sue has spent formative periods of her life in Mexico and Guatemala. Ben and his surviving older brother Will were born in Guatemala and grew up in Connecticut, where Sue has been instrumental in establishing Trinity’s linkage with San Jose La Montana, Chalatenango, El Salvador.
We continue to pray for all of our hermanamientos and for the movement toward solidarity and mutual support that each of us brings to life. Through our personal connections, we can be Christ’s presence for each other.