In this photo, the Sisters are participating in the Eucharist on Sunday, April 28, 2019. Fr. William Isaí Santos, Pastor of the parish of Santiago Apóstol, Diocese of San Miguel, in the Municipality of Torola, Department of Morazán, El Salvador, is welcoming and praying for Sisters Betty Campos Arias and Elizabeth Marisol Cruz Pérez, CCVI, as they begin this new CCVI ministry in El Salvador.
Sister Kevina, in her April 1st, 2019 letter to the Sisters shared that during the Leadership Team’s visit to Guatemala they enjoyed a lovely visit with the Sisters in Zone 1, Guatemala City, re: significant discussion and clarification with both Sisters Betty Campos Arias and Elizabeth Marisol Cruz Pérez about the potential new ministry in El Salvador.
Sisters Mary Patricia Driscoll, Betty Campos Arias and Edis Marilú Yanes made an initial visit to the municipality of Torola on December 27, 2018. This visit was made in order to get to know some of the places in the Department of Morazán because Bishop José Luis Escobar Alas of San Salvador had already mentioned to Sisters Betty and Marisol about the need for the presence of more Religious Sisters in Morazán. On that same day they visited San Francisco Gotera, Perquín and the Municipality of Torola. In San Francisco Gotera they visited with the Clarisas Sisters. The Sister who received them was very kind and in dialogue with her, she mentioned that several places in Morazán needed to be attended to; among them she mentioned the Municipality of Torola.
On December 28, 2018, while they were waiting for a date in which they could see Bishop Fabio Colindres, Bishop of San Miguel, they visited Ciudad Barrios, San Miguel, the place where St. Óscar Arnulfo Romero was born and grew up, and they took some photos. On December 29, they participated in the Eucharist together with approximately 3 thousand young people from the Diocese of San Miguel. Bishop Fabio Colindres gave them the opportunity to meet with him at his place. He was most kind and they were very pleased to be able to greet him.
Then on January 31, 2018, the Sisters had their first formal meeting with Bishop Colindres. They made him aware of the purpose of their visit, and shared on CCVI Spirituality and its Charism and a brief history of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, Houston, Texas. After their presentation, the Bishop informed them of the areas that are most in need of attention in his diocese, among which he mentioned: Morazán, La Unión and the Island of Meanguera. He told the Sisters that he would meet with his Advisory Council to decide where the Sisters could best serve. Sister Betty remained in contact with Bishop Colindres.
Shortly thereafter, Bishop Fabio Colindres gave Sister Betty the joyful news that their place of ministry would be in the Municipality of Torola, Morazán. Sister Betty initiated communication with Father William Isaí Santos, Parish Priest of Santiago Apóstol parish, and agreed on a date to meet with him. On March 30, 2019, Sisters Betty, Marisol and Marilú traveled to the Municipality of Torola and had their first meeting with Father William Isaí Santos. Father Isaí received them very kindly and was happy that they chose this place for their new ministry and he asked them to support him with the pastoral accompaniment and organization of the different groups in the Parish. He also asked them to boost, motivate and organize pastoral accompaniment in some of the remote communities or cantons.
On April 26, 2019, both Sisters Betty and Elizabeth Marisol arrived at their rented house (now their new convent) in Torola, Morazán, and settled in. People from the parish along with Fr. Isaí were waiting to welcome them. On Sunday 28, during the Mass for the celebration of Divine Mercy, they were officially welcomed; Fr. Isaí introduced them to the entire community and welcomed them into the Parish on his behalf and on behalf of Bishop Fabio Colindres. CCVI Sisters from the Central American Region accompanied them; they were: Sr. Juana Margarita Flores, Sr. Benigna Mejía Arévalo, and Sr. Magdalena Rodríguez, along with three young women interested in joining the Congregation: Misses Irma Luis Garcia, María Juárez, and Silvia Esperanza Francisco Juan.
It was a very joyful experience to be accompanied into the parish community in the presence of CCVI Sisters and young ladies who desire to be Sisters. During the Mass Fr. Isaí gave Sisters Betty and Elizabeth Marisol the opportunity to introduce themselves and made them feel welcome to the community. He said that as Sisters they would accompany ten communities: El Chongue, El Progreso, San José Cureñas, El Trueno, El Limón, Maragua, El Picado, Las Ánonas, Comunidad la Caída y Tijeretas. These are the communities that need more pastoral and evangelization accompaniment. He also mentioned that psychological accompaniment may also be necessary.
Both Sisters Betty and Elizabeth Marisol are CCVI pioneers at a new location and in a new ministry. Let us remember them and the people they serve and work with in our fervent prayer. May the love of the Incarnate Word be shared with the people of Torola and the surrounding areas thought the persons and services of our two valiant Sisters.
Praised be the Incarnate Word. Forever!