Over 120 years ago the first missionaries arrived in the Amazon region of Ecuador that today is the Apostolic Vicariate of Mendez. The nuns followed ten years later. Today there are 90 sisters working here, from nine different congregations.

It is a vast region, and there is no end to the work in this particular vineyard of the Lord’s. Half of the inhabitants are indigenous people and many of them live in the mountains or in the rainforest. So the sisters bring the love of Christ to them.

‘For they too are children of God’, says Mother Victoria. She comes from Italy and first came to the missions in Ecuador as a young sister of 21. That was back in 1956. Since then she has devoted her entire life to working among these children of God.

She learned the language of the Shuar people, set up a boarding school for girls, and rode into the mountains on a mule – always with her rosary in her hand, ‘so that the Blessed Virgin would protect me from the wild beasts, the cloudbursts and the snakes’. She brought them the Word of God and shared their food and living conditions.

These people have lost out as the modern age has borne down upon them. In the clash of cultures the young people quickly lose their old customs and traditions, and with them a part of their own identity.

Often all that is left is an empty shell. Mother Victoria and her sisters are working so that the girls in particular can get an education and not fall into the hands of the drug dealers and people traffickers.

They must be allowed to experience the warmth of God’s love’, she explains. In this way their spiritual wounds can heal and the girls can regain their dignity. It is all part of the order’s missionary work today.

Only with ACN’s help can this all-important work continue. The Sister’s mission serving their fellow men and women – which includes catechesis as a natural and integral part – is supported by ACN, which provides subsistence aid for their life and ministry. We have promised the 90 sisters in Mendez our support.

This article can be found in Mirror 0215.