The Congregation of the Sisters of Martha and Mary was founded in 1979 in the diocese of Jalapa in Guatemala. In this very poor region of the country, where there is also a great shortage of priests, the congregation was established partly in order to counter the proliferation of religious sects. The sisters combine the contemplative life of prayer with an active life of fraternal charity, and they support the work of the small number of priests. They care for handicapped children, orphans, the lonely and elderly and the victims of drug addiction, and they also teach in some of the poorest and most neglected areas.
This young congregation rejoices to have numerous vocations and is expanding steadily. It now has 700 sisters altogether, who work in Latin America, Africa and Europe and more and more young women are eager to join the congregation.
(Sisters of the Congregation Marta and Mary, standing outside their current formation house © Aid to the Church in Need)
In Jalapa, no fewer than 200 young novices are currently undergoing formation. But the congregation is poor and does not have the appropriate buildings or facilities for training so many young sisters. So far they have been using rented premises which in reality are unsuited for their purpose. For example, the young women have to sleep 24 to a single dormitory and there is a shortage of many basic necessities.
In order to be able to cope with all these new vocations and provide these young women with an appropriate formation and preparation for the religious life, the congregation is now building a two-storey formation house, with an attached chapel, dormitories and classrooms. They have appealed to the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) for help to build one wing containing three of these classrooms. ACN has promised a grant of $40,000.
The vital work of Catholic charities like Aid to the Church In Need provide a lifeline to the Church wherever she is poor, persecuted or threatened. Please help our work by donating online or send your donation to Aid to the Church in Need, PO Box 7246 Baulkham Hills NSW 2153. Ph: (02) 9679-1929
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