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Sisters of Providence to welcome Salvadoran woman into novitiate at prayer service

Sisters of Providence will welcome Vilma Franco, 25, as a novice in a prayer ceremony Sunday, August 15, at their annual Provincial Chapter in Spokane.

Vilma, a native of the department of Chaletenango in El Salvador, has been visiting the sisters in the Northwest along with traveling companion Margarita Hernandez, 23, who is a candidate for the religious community.

Vilma will join other Sisters of Providence novices in Chile for the canonical year to explore in depth the call to vowed life in the religious community. Sisters of Providence have been in El Salvador since January 1995, says Sister Barbara Schamber, Team Leader/Provincial of Mother Joseph Province.

In February 2002, for the first time, the sisters hosted their international General Conference there. The sisters have a mission about 90 minutes from San Salvador and have been helping to rebuild homes that were destroyed in the earthquakes of early 2001.

"We call on the God of Providence to continue to inspire our sisters in ministry in El Salvador with love of the poor as they carry out the mission there," Sister Barbara said. 'We are grateful that young Salvadoran women continue to be interested in the Sisters of Providence. Our ministry to the poor in El Salvador is a joy and a support to the people there."

Vilma lost her father and six brothers in El Salvador's civil war from 1980 to 1992. After the war, she and her sisters relocated with their mother to the department of the Usulutan in the coastal zone of El Salvador. She was living with her mother, a sister and a niece in the community of Angela Montano when Sister Fran Stacey moved there in 2000.

Sisters Monica Campillay and Maria Antonieta Trimpay join Sister Fran on the formation team in El Salvador.

While assisting with the youth ministry, Vilma expressed a desire to be a sister and was encouraged by Sister Fran to pray and explore this call. Her involvement in ministry with the sisters led Vilma to want to learn more about the Sisters of Providence and how to become a member of the religious community.

She participated in a 'Come and See' experience in La Papalota and in the Sisters of Providence pre-candidate program in San Salvador. The latter included basic community living skills, personal development and group skills. She also attended Jesuit University in San Salvador.

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