ACN Project of the Week – Bolivia
Supporting 27 religious living at a 4,000-meter altitude
High up in the Andes, at an altitude of around 4000 m above sea level, lies the diocese of Oruro. Covering an area of nearly 53,600 km², it is larger than some of the smaller European countries, such as the Netherlands for example. Yet it is sparsely populated, with just around half a million people, at least half of whom live in the town of Oruro itself.
Needless to say the 43 parishes of the diocese cover vast and often inaccessible regions. Consequently, the work of the religious Sisters in ministering to the Catholic faithful is of the greatest importance engaged as they are in proclaiming the faith, catechesis, the youth apostolate and spiritual accompaniment. Not only this, but they are often the only ones who are helping the people with their concrete, day-to-day needs – especially in the area of healthcare and education, these religious Sisters make a huge contribution. In addition, they run soup kitchens for the poor.
But this selfless work of service comes at a heavy price for the Sisters. The cold, the rigours of the high altitude, the difficult and often dangerous roads, the deserted landscape and the difficult social environment – makes for a reality that is difficult to endure. That said, the sisters know well that their help and support are urgently needed and so they continue their work, for sheer love of God. And receive no payment for this pastoral care.
Bishop of the diocese, Msgr. Krzysztof Bialasik, cannot speak highly enough of the wonderful work the Sisters are doing in his diocese. But since it is also very poor, he has asked us for help for the support of 27 religious Sisters belonging to 9 different congregations.