Celebrating 170 Years of Sisters of Providence in Chile

Sisters from around the world converged on Santiago, Chile, earlier in the summer to celebrate the 170th anniversary of Mother Bernarda Morin’s arrival in that South American nation.

Much of the Sisters’ current ministry is in education and students played a major roll in all the events.  A spectacular night of music, skits and traditional dance kicked off the celebration in Santiago’s Teatro Oriente

Other performances and luncheons were held at schools and churches in Valparaiso, where Mother Bernarda and her companions first arrived and in Linares, an agricultural community about 300 kilometers south of Santiago.

Since the arrival of the first missionaries, Sisters have also established foster homes, residences, hospitals, retirement homes and parishes.

Preschoolers from Collegio Providencia  reenacting the arrival of the Sisters in Chile.

English and Music

Students from pre-school to high school took part in a celebration at Collegio Providencia, in the agricultural community of Linares about 300 kilometers south of Santiago.  Many of the students in the all-girl school study English and they were eager to practice with the visiting sisters. 

Music and dance is a big part of the curriculum and several numbers were performed by students, including one in which three preschoolers dressed in period habits.  Even during lunch, students serenaded visitors with a violin performance then presented attendees with home made cookies.

Faculty and staff of Collegio Providencia joined with the visiting Sisters from around the world.

Young and Old

In Valparaiso, children from the Providence Kindergarten and elderly from the Providence Home for the Elderly, both sponsored by the Sisters, join in the celebration of Mass at Corazón de María (Heart of Mary).  Adults and children dressed in period habits and clothing creating a festive and joyful atmosphere.  The parish is just a few blocks from the site at which Mother Bernarda and her companions disembarked to begin their mission. 

Staff and residence of the home hosted Sisters for lunch, eagerly led tours of the facility and performed a small skit mixed with a fun demonstration of some of their physical therapy routines.

Actors visiting with children as the missionary Sisters would have.
Kindergartens were a joyous part of the celebration and Mass in Valpariso.

 In the Heart of Chile

The celebration culminated on a Saturday, when students and friends of the Hermanas de Providencia gathered in the Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral to celebrate a Mass.  Children carried banners from their school and stood at the foot of the altar throughout the celebration.  The crowd inside the gothic-inspired cathedral spilled out into the magnificent Plaza de Armas, where many significant events from Chilean history took place.

Congregational and Provincial leaders gathered at the foot of the altar after mass.  Cardinal Archbishop Celestino Aós Braco was the main celebrant.

Cardinal Archbishop Celestino Aós Braco was the main celebrant and priests from around the nation conconcelebrated.