Steve and I recently made a trip to Lima, Peru to visit our son, Jeff. Jeff is in religious formation with the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae. We were able to spend four days touring Lima and San Bartolo as well as meeting more of the Sodalit family Jeff has become a part of.
Patrick Travers is on the left. He is from Illinois and is the
formation director for Jeff’s class. In the middle are two
Peruvian Sodalits also in formation, and Jeff on the right.
As we learned more about some of the apostolic work the Sodalits do we were able to see firsthand what a project called “Bridges” is doing to bring dignity to the poorest areas of Lima. We met up with a Sodalit named Alejo that took us to see the cement stairways they have been building with groups from wealthier parts of Lima and groups from places like the United States. The cement stairways make life for these families much easier especially for carrying water. The water for each family is at the bottom of the hill in 50 gallon drums. They use buckets to carry the water up the hill to their home which can be about a half a mile climb. The water is used for washing, cooking and drinking.
|You can see some of the homes on the hillside in the background|
|The local families each contribute according to their possibilities,
putting in work hours or paying for supplies.
Another one of our visits in Lima took us to a school run by the Ciervas, the consecrated women of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae. This school is for physically handicapped children. We met children from pre-school through twelfth grade. The name of the school in English is “Joy in the Lord” and there was plenty of joy in the students, teachers and volunteers we met.
|The children were very friendly and enjoyed shaking
our hands as they told us their names and ages.
|I am pictured with Jeff, Steve and Hermana Luz, a “Sierva del Plan
de Dios” (Servant of the Plan of God) with three boys in the senior class.
They are all planning to go to college and spoke very good English.
As we walked around Lima and visited places like the tombs of St. Rose of Lima and St. Martin de Porres as well as many churches. On our way back through a very busy part of Lima I caught sight of an elderly woman selling baby hats. We stopped to visit and learned that she was 85 years old. It is very common to see people selling things. A young girl came up to us and sold us some gum as we visited with the elderly woman.
|After I bought this little hat for our granddaughter, Harper, Jeff
spent time talking to her about her faith and as he started to
pray a Hail Mary with her she joined in prayer with him.
The community we met in Lima and San Bartolo touched our hearts and reassured our confidence in the path Jeff has been called to live. The hospitality we were shown as well as the character in each and every member of the community was a blessing that lasted well beyond our return home.
|We enjoyed a meal with Jeff’s formation class of mozzarella
stuffed meatballs, stuffed baked potatoes and a special
chocolate dessert from Brazil.
Even though we cannot physically reach out and touch the lives of the poor we can reach out to each person around us with the love and respect each child of God deserves. Jeff and the community he is a member of have a very special calling to serve God and the church. As a lay person in the church I can appreciate the lyrics in a song Diana Ross sings so well “Reach out and touch somebody’s hand, Make this world a better place if you can”
|Jeff is pictured with his formation class. Front row is
Estaban (Lima) and Checho (Lima). Back row is Leo (Brazil)
Jeff, Carlos (Chile) and Santiago (Argentina). Not pictured are
Matias (Chile), Filipe (Costa Rica) and Sergio (Brazil)