May 2018

From 2018-05-31 to 2018-08-31

Cerro Rico


At the entrance of the mine there is a statue El Tio which represents the god of the mine. After offering him cigarettes or alcohol, the miners enter the tunnels walking half bent because the low ceilings. If you are not wearing a helmet, look out for your head. The mine has many openings but some are as small as a man hole. All day long, the men climb ladders their bags filled with stone chippings. They explode dynamite charges at will, no matter the danger. In the city there are stalls of dynamite sticks and hessian sacks full of coca leaves, the inhabitants’ Tylenol.

Why do men continue coming to this lifeless mine? For the livelihood of their families! Fatalism and resignation is another reason—“my grandfather was a miner, my father was a miner, I am also a miner” they say.

The mines are dark but with my flashlight I could see the brilliancy of dust particles still imprisoned in the rock. There is absolutely no life in the mineral universe, not even a mouse said my tour guide because it would have nothing to eat. Men eat very little, it is impossible for them to bring a lunch due to the dust that would infiltrate the food and spoil it. So they chew enormous wads of coca leaves that help them keep going.


When miners come out of the mine at the end of the day or at night time, they must sleep. Since most of them live in a one room house, cohabitation is not easy. The children must go outside and make no noise; using rudimentary installations, the women organize themselves to wash and dry the clothes. Notwithstanding their great poverty and harshness of life, the inhabitants are believers. Their syncretistic beliefs are a combination of Catholicism and the ancient gods. It is with respect and attachment that the people continue celebrating the ancient divinities.

Upon our return home, we ponder upon what we have seen. The many injustices do not leave us indifferent but we do feel powerless before such misery. The knowledge we have acquired, the awareness of the living conditions of the miners help us to be attentive to their plight. After such a trip, we realize that we all have a duty to keep alive in our memory those great tragedies which have been too quickly and easily forgotten.

Suzanne Lachapelle

From 2018-05-15 to 2018-05-31

Religious Profession in Africa

As we were celebrating the feast of the Immaculate  Conception, it was a  privilege to celebrate at the same time the first profession of our two novices in the new  Mary Immaculate chapel. Slowly our chapel was filled with  people who had come to witness the ceremony. The mass was presided by Right Reverend Bishop Benjamin Phiri, the auxiliary bishop of the diocese of Chipata. In his homily the bishop explained how religious people should live the evangelical counsels in order to follow Jesus more closely.  He told the assembly that the acceptance of candidates into religious life is a gift to a congregation and to the Church.  After Holy Communion, the other MIC sisters present, renewed their vows as it is the custom on this feast day. 

After mass everyone gathered in the dining hall of our Development Centre  for a grand meal.  We concluded the ceremony with the final blessing by Bishop Benjamin Phiri.                                                                                           

         Chipata Zambia

From 2018-04-30 to 2018-05-30

Marie-de-la-Providence College in Napo

carried the Canadian flag while Fr. Roland Demers, godfather of the inauguration ceremony, and Sr. Gabrielle Tremblay , m.i.c. carried the Peruvian flag.  The banners were held high while everyone sang the national hymns of both countries.

The official speeches then followed, interspersed with folk dances performed by the students.  After the speech of Miss Maria Arroyo, Directress of the College, Mr. Quane took the floor.  Fr. Roland Demers provided the translation.  Mr. Quane insisted on the students’ privilege of having good infrastructures so as to be able to study and on the responsibility that will be theirs after their studies to share, in turn, with those who don’t have such infrastructures.

The students then went away and the guests went up for the blessing of the second floor and of the commemorative plaque.  The blessing was given by Bishop Noël Simard and Fr. Roland Demers.  The celebration ended with a reception wine and a fraternal banquet bringing together representatives of the Parents’ Association, the administrative personnel of the College, representatives of the teachers and the sisters of the community.

Following this ceremony, the Canadian guests came to share the meal with the sisters at the Provincial House.  A fraternal conversation prevailed around the table in simplicity and contentment.  The sisters, in turn, thanked the guests with typical Peruvian gifts.

Napo  Lima