Sister Parish Guatemala

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Our mission is to broaden our experience of the body of Christ through the ongoing relationship between our parish and a small Mayan village in the mountains of Guatemala.  Spending time living with our Mayan brothers and sisters deepens our mutual understanding of what it means to be Christ in the larger world and allows this experience to transform our daily lives.

A ‘hermanamiento’ or ‘sister’ linkage was created in 1993 between St Francis of Assisi and Las Margaritas II of the Ixchan region of Guatemala.  Each year, one or two delegations of six to 10 parishioners travel to Las Margaritas II to live, work and pray with the community for a week or two.  The purpose of our relationship is not to provide relief but to open our minds and transform our hearts.

In February 2012, a small delegation traveled to Las Margaritas II to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the village. The delegation brought four laptops that were donated by The Franciscan School. The laptops, along with four desktop computers, were used for the village’s new Computer and Internet School.

In February 2010 we sent our second medical delegation to Las Margaritas II.  The primary focus was on preventive health education. Each family was provided a first aid kit and health education topics included nutrition, hydration, handwashing, first aid, pesticide safety, and suturing.

We sent our second teen delegation to the village in June 2010.  Many of our teens attended an additional language immersion school in Antigua prior to their experience in the village.  To read a beautiful reflection by teen delegate, Colleen Kane, about her experience, please click here.

About every three years we host a “South to North Delegation” where five or six delegates from Las Margaritas II visit our community. To read about the life-changing impact of one man’s visit, please click here.

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Click here to complete the Sister Parish Delegate Application.

For more information about the Sister Parish ministry, contact Carie Gunnells at carie.prue@gmail.com. Also visit the Sister Parish Inc. website.

Reflections from the Teen Delegation to our Sister Parish in Las Margaritas II, Guatemala, June 22-30, 2010

  • “… Being part of the teen delegation changed my life. Living with such kind and hospitable members of our sister community made me realize how special our relationship is with them.  Even though we live in different parts of the world, we are still family to each other and we have so much in common. This trip was an amazing experience and I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to spend a part of my summer with these amazing people!  –Chloe Mintel
  • “It took many plane rides and many hours of bouncing along bumpy gravel roads to get us to our destination, but we made it.  We made it to the thatched roof houses with dirt floors, wooden board beds, fire-pit ovens, latrines, and chickens that wandered into the house.  We made it to the humidity and heat of a non-air-conditioned lifestyle.  But most importantly, we made it to the people of our Sister Parish community, a community of faith just like us, but one that speaks a different language and leads a much simpler life.   I am so blessed to have been a part of St. Francis’ effort to stretch Christ’s hands across the globe.”   –Colleen Kane
  • “My experiences in Guatemala are going to last a lifetime.  It wouldn’t have been the same without my mom there either.  Now we both share memories that will last forever, together.  One of my favorite experiences was at the dance –  as soon as I would stand up there would be tons of kids surrounding me wanting to dance.  I was accepted as their family in only a few days.  I enjoyed every single bit of it.”  –Andrew Mariani