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Map of Guatemala
Mission in Guatemala

     In 1961, Pope John XXIII called upon the religious of the United States to respond to the needs of the Church in Latin America. The Congregation of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament, Houston, Texas, was one of the Congregations that responded to the call of the Holy Father.

Bishop Hugo M. Gerbermann, a Maryknoll priest, on a visit to his native Texas in 1961, petitioned the Congregation to send Sisters to minister in the Diocese of Huehuetenango, Guatemala, Central America.

The request was presented to the delegates of the General Chapter of the Congregation in 1962. Receiving an affirmative response to the request, the Chapter Delegates mandated Sr. Joseph Fluellen, Superior General, and her Council (Srs. Joan Neilon, Belinda Delaney, Magdalen Burke and Josephine Nolan) to make plans for establishing a mission in the Diocese of Huehuetenango, Guatemala, Central America.

Srs. Brigid, Helen & Sylvester receiving a blessing from Bishop Morkovsky

       In September 1964 the first Mission band was chosen from among the many Sisters who had volunteered to serve in Guatemala -- Sisters Brigid Cummins, Helen Spanos, and Sylvester Uresti. Sr. Stella Marie Halley was selected as a substituteSrs. Bertha & Joseph with Fr. Pekar and Sr. Bertha Quinters served as Mission Coordinator. Under the leadership of Msgr. Gilbert Pekar, the people of St. Cecilia Parish helped the Sisters in furnishing the Mission with the needed supplies.

        On June 9, 1965, the group together with Msgr. Pekar and Father Patrick Flores set out from Houston in a Volkswagon Microbus.

Arrival in Guatemala

After journeying through Mexico, the group arrived in Guatemala on June 17, Feast of Corpus Christi. Many people from the Parish were on hand to welcome them to their new home.Thus, began the challenge of serving the people of La Democracia.

      Each Sister began to train for the specific work which she felt called to do. Sr. Sylvester, Sr. Sylvester with a patientfluent in Spanish, began her training for work in the Clinic. She lived with the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word and worked with them in the hospital in Huehuetenango. Within months she was ready to undertake the work of caring for the sick. She returned to the Mission to open the Clinic along with a health promoter. Together they gained the confidence of the people; and as a result, the daily attendance at the Clinic increased considerably.Srs. Helen & Brigid with a guatemalan girl

Srs. Helen and Brigid continued their classes in Spanish and on the weekend went to the Mission to organize the different groups of the Parish. Their work included census taking, cathechetical classes, organizing adult Bible study groups, and working with teachers of the public schools.
Other Sisters who came to the Mission
     Changes of personnel introduced other Sisters to the work of the Mission. Also commissioned to Guatemala were Sisters Josephine Nolan, Stella Marie Halley, Mary O'Duffy, Bertha Quinters, and Ignatius Hall. 

As the work of the Mission expanded so did the Good News of the Christian Faith. The attendance of Sunday Masses increased as did the participation in religious activities. Inspired by the Cursillo Movement, many parishioners became leaders in Church organizations. Sr. Bertha at the dedication of the completed Water Project

In 1972, the Christian Children Fund recognized the need to establish a food distribution center in the area of Mission Santa Teresita. In 1980, the organization sponsored a Water Project which provided water to over 150 families in the area of the Mission. Sr. Bertha Quinters was instrumental in the success of this important project.

The work of the Mission grew to include kindergarten classes, carpentry, religious education, First Communion classes, music groups, choral groups and Liturgy classes.

     In 1981, Sisters of the Incarnate Word from Mexico City became responsible for staffing the Mission. A collaborative ministry was established between the Incarnate Word Congregation from Houston and from Mexico City which continues up to the present.

    Sr. Grace O'Brien with the Mexico City Sisters        Srs. Bertha & Josephine with the Mexico City Sisters


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