Aug 20th 2018 – It would seem there is little connection between the foothill of the Ox Mountains and the foothills of the high Andes, but there one. Sr Cait Wims, a native of Coolaney, currently works as a missionary in Mache in Peru. The landscape around Mache, while five times higher than the highest point in the Ox Mountains, is similar in some respects; rural, green and with a simple agricultural tradition but the region’s isolation and poverty shows a stark contrast.
Cait says of her time in Peru: “In 1984, our then Superior asked four of us to begin a Mission in Peru. In September of that year, we set out for the unknown land. I feel so blessed for that invitation and for the years God has given me to serve among the Peruvian people. Their hospitality, warm welcome and ability to interpret my Spanish are amazing. I have shared dinner with a family and tears ran down my face as I saw the father peel the nicest potatoes for me, place them on my plate and give me the best cup in the house.”
The Coolaney native goes on to talk about her role as a Mercy Missionary Sister: “We Sisters move from place to place within a country, from country to country, and while each one adds her own flavour to her Ministry, all are called to live the Mercy Charism, which is to serve the poor, the sick and uneducated.”
Cait, who had been in Peru for 34 years, speaks of her experiences there with great passion: “Since 2003, I am living in the Andes. First in northern Peru, in Pacaipampa and now in Mache. The simplicity and the profundity of the faith and lives of the farming communities are challenging. I feel not only privileged, but also blessed by God to have been given the gift to share my life with the people of Peru. They have transformed my vision of who a missionary is and who a Sister of Mercy is called to be.”
A benefit night for Sr Cait Wims (Peru), in the form of a House Concert, is talking place on Friday 24th of August at Moy River Folk Club in Cloonacool (Moy River B&B). The Demolition String Band from the US will provide the entertainment (Bluegrass and country) on the night with support by local singer, Lana Moore. Spaces at the South Sligo venue are limited and seats go on a first come, first served basis. Those interested in donating to the fund can still do so even if they do not attend the concert. Booking is essential; 087 2512030.
The funds raised are earmarked for an educational fund administered Cait’s Order in Peru and go in particular to fund poor students who are given a scholarship for a university education. Cait continues: “My work is mainly in the area of Education, both formal and informal, with adults and youth. I am a member of the team that accompanies the Youth community here in Mache. They are wonderful young people, secondary school students, full of creativity and hope and are always resourceful to solve the many problems that we confront. Here, in Mache we have a Third Level Institute. It has two areas: Agricultural Science and Accountancy. We are so blessed and many rural communities would wish to have the same. Since, many students have the intellectual ability/wish to study other careers, we Sisters of Mercy offer some scholarships.”
Sr. Cait Wims finishes by describing her adopted home in Peru and how she feels so humbled to be there: “As I sit and watch the inexpressible beauty of the sunset or enjoy a walk in the Andes at 3,200meters, I see young children or a mother with a child on her back bringing home two or three animals, be they sheep or cattle. Usually one of these animals is ear marked to buy the school supplies for the children. However, if a member of the family becomes ill or any unexpected situation arises, then education falls to the bottom of the list.”