Aguchita’s spirit lives on in La Florida, Peru

Aguchita’s spirit lives on in La Florida, Peru

Aguchita’s spirit lives on in La Florida, Peru

Aguchita’s spirit lives on in La Florida, Peru

Aguchita’s spirit lives on in La Florida, Peru

Aguchita’s spirit lives on in La Florida, Peru

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By Sr Karla Bernabe Lamadrid, Province of Peru

“Live full days, life is short” Aguchita

On May 7, 2024, the second anniversary of the beatification of our beloved Sr Maria Agustina Rivas López, affectionately known as ‘Aguchita’, was celebrated during a joyous ceremony in the church at La Florida, Peru.

We experienced the unity of a global Church as we welcomed sisters, partners-in-mission, priests, and bishops from four continents, pilgrims from the Apostolic Vicariate of San Ramón and the Archdiocese of Lima, and representatives from local institutions and indigenous communities.

This encounter between the Amazon and our global world was profoundly significant.

During the event, we reflected on the significance of Aguchita’s beatification for the Church and our Congregation. Pilgrims expressed their love and gratitude for Aguchita by laying flowers, kneeling to pray, and leaving petitions for healing and thanksgiving at her tomb. They spoke about how they felt Aguchita’s spirit to be alive in the town.

This echoed our lived experience in La Florida where we continue to feel Aguchita’s presence influence our daily lives.

Inspired by her love for ecology, and with financial support from the Swiss NGO BASAID, we created the ‘Family and School Gardens’ project for school-age children and adolescents in La Florida and surrounding communities. The project aims to teach children how to grow and harvest vegetables through organic gardening to improve their nutrition with a balanced diet and raise their awareness to care for our Common Home.

With further financial support from BASAID, we also strengthened the learning of children and adolescents from the Escormes native community who were experiencing school difficulties through the project ‘Strengthening Learning for Children and Adolescents in La Florida’.

The objective of this project is to provide nutritious lunches to 50 children and adolescents and support them to maintain their academic performance, complete their schooling, and have access to educational and economic opportunities for their future economic independence.

Additionally, the project seeks to encourage positive behavior and values in 15 school-age and high-risk youths to prevent drug addiction, alcoholism, teenage pregnancy, human trafficking, or any form of violence.

With funding from Good Shepherd Toronto, administered through GSIF, we also offer the project ‘Promoting Economic and Financial Inclusion in Vulnerable Women in Latin America,’ which provides comprehensive care that includes training workshops, empowerment, psychological guidance, and guidance in business management.

We also collaborate in the capacity building and development of the Yanesha native community in the area of education and the promotion of women, through carrying out training and other workshops, family and school gardens, and supporting them to expand their school and health center.

The spirit of Aguchita is imbued into each project we carry out in La Florida and it fills our hearts with joy to witness that her life continues to be celebrated and her shrine continues to be a place of pilgrimage, where the faithful seek her intercession and find comfort and hope.

We continue to work with local authorities to include Aguchita’s shrine on tourist routes and continue to promote La Florida as a place of pilgrimage. On the Saturday before her feast day over a thousand young pilgrims from the Apostolic Vicariate of San Ramón came to La Florida to find encounter with Jesus through the spirit of Aguchita.

Aguchita’s spirit lives on among us in her town of La Florida and this wonderful Amazon – constantly inspiring us to follow her legacy of love and service.

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