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New Outreach in Salta, Argentina

Alicia in Barrio.Three FCJ sisters are now living in Salta, Northern Argentina. One of them, Patricia, writes: “Life here in Salta is life on the edge, living through and sharing crisis at national and local level, experiencing humankind in its sinfulness but also in all its glory, a situation tht challenges and invites me to reflect ever more deeply on what it is to be a faithful companion of Jesus in this context, walking with God’s people in exile as they struggle to find their place and dignity in their own homeland.”Floods in Salta.

Their home is in Barrio Solidaridad, a relatively new barrio on the edge of Salta, with a population of nearly 13,000 people. Unemployment is at approximately 70% with very few people who have regular salaries and little expectation of being able to improve their situation.. Many people in the barrio suffer hunger and want and often it is those who are most in need who refrain from asking for help and who struggle to give ‘their daily bread’ to their children. Political interests are at the heart of much injustice.

Alicia works at the University, teaching computer science workshops, organizing faculty training on distance education and on the passing on of values, and planning new initiatives in distance education. She enjoys talking to the computer science first years in their philosophy class who ask lots of questions about artificial intelligence and religious life!

In the barrio Alicia runs couple of adult catechesis groups, a Bible group, and does occasional retreats for the catechists. She is member of the archdiocesan vocation ministry team.

Patricia organises workshops in the barrio, and encourages people to help themselves by planting vegetable gardens and working towards building more secure houses. Since last year, a group of professionals and others who live in the centre of the city has been helping with workshops and other projects in the barrio, and this group has decided to form a legal Association, so as to be able to apply both more formally and more easily for project funding. This is still in process, with no name yet, but there is a sense of excitement and energy around the move.

Community in SaltaPatricia also works with some local community retreats and she is about to start with the people from the centre who are accompanying us with the projects in the barrio. With the local people who have completed the retreat, there is hope of forming a women’s group of prayer and mutual support.

In May of this year, a third sister, Marguerite, joined the Salta community. She will soon be immersed in the life of the barrio and will also be responsible for FCJ formation when, hopefully, two young women will begin their novitiate shortly.

Patricia continues: “May we never become complacent, and may we be open to be challenged and to learn from those with whom we walk, wherever that may be..."

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