Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Pioneer Days to Present Day

In addition to Dominican Sisters missioned from the United States to Puerto Rico, several vocations entered the Amityville and Adrian congregations from Puerto Rico and reciprocated by serving in the United States. 

“In 1989, as a result of Hurricane Hugo, the Dominican Sisters in the Amityville Province of Puerto Rico began a new mission on the small island of Culebra bringing hope and services to these people.”  In 2003 they were engaged in teaching children in Culebra, Puerto Rico helping them to master academic skills, acquire good study habits and build high self-esteem in order to prevent them from dropping out of school and giving care and service to 180 senior citizens at the Centro Geriatrico El Remanso in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. 

In 2010 the Dominican Sisters of Amityville marked their 100th anniversary of years in Puerto Rico and entered into a collaborative venture with their Province in Puerto Rico to begin a new mission in the Dominican Republic. (D. S. Amityville)  “Over 300 Amityville Dominican Sisters have served in Puerto Rico as teachers, catechists, pastoral workers, ministers to the poor and elderly, and counselors to families in need. Each has been a missionary in the true sense of the word. In ten decades’ time this Mission has grown in ways those first Sisters could have never imagined. The Province is self-governing and self-supporting, and home to 50 Sisters who minister to local communities.”   

S. Luz Selenia Quinones, former Provincial of Puerto Rico, shared the excitement of the centenary in a letter, “February 21, 2010 was the first Celebration we held thanking God for all His blessings on our pioneer Sisters in Puerto Rico. Truly valiant women they were to take the only boat available at the time to cross the Atlantic Ocean. It took them five days on board and they arrived on August 25, 1910. These valiant women were Mother Hilaria, First Vicaress on the Island; Mother Anselma; S. Tiburtia; S. Agnes Koestler; S. Beda Pfister; and S. Emmerana. With the exception of Mother Anselma, who was recalled to the Motherhouse to become Director of Novices, all the other Pioneer Sisters were true missionaries for at least fifteen years. As happens with all beginnings, life was difficult because of the change of weather patterns, eating customs and of course language difficulties. These Sisters however were clear about their identity as Religious Dominican women.”