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Que en todas las cosas sea Dios glorificado








We are a community of sisters rooted in the Gospel and the Rule of St. Benedict,

 applied to our time in Call to Life.

We accompany those around us,

with a preferential option for impoverished women; 

and in this way contribute to building 

more humane relationships in Mexican 


in society and in the Church. 




Monasterio Pan de Vida will continue

to offer elements capable of

making proposals and transforming

the multiple areas of society,

giving priority to the development of Women

and the care of Creation.


We will do this from the perspective

of our Benedictine Spirituality

during the next six years.





The History of Monasterio Pan de Vida from 2008 to 2014

has been a time of  light and some very deep shadows

a time of mourning and of celebration



During the year 2008 Mexico suffered one of its worst financial crises in modern times partly due to the financial crisis in the United States.  The Mexican peso lost 26% of its value and this sad reality affected every sector of Mexican society.  


But even worse than the financial situation, in Torreon where the monastery is located, there was a major outbreak of drug related violence that would continue through 2012.  Mexico’s two major drug trafficking organizations, the “Zetas” on the east coast and “Sinaloa” on the west coast used brutal tactics, including mass killings, the use of torture and dismemberment, kidnapping and extortions, as they fought one block at a time to take control of the purchase, sale and distribution of drugs in the area.  Things got so bad that most people didn’t hope for an end to drug trafficking, but just that the Sinaloa cartel would win because its members were less brutal and if they took control things would settle down a little on the streets.


Even in the most difficult situations life does go on, and the community adapted.  The sisters joined their neighbors and the city in general in a self-imposed curfew.  They changed some of their schedules in CEDIMSE and moved night classes up to the early evening in efforts to keep the Center a safe place for all involved.  Some people, especially those from other neighborhoods no longer came because of the danger involved.  But those who lived close by, especially the young came in larger numbers.  One little boy said one day:  “Please have more activities for children…something every afternoon.  This is the only place my mother lets me come now”.  


The sisters presided at Liturgies of the Word, when a family member had died and no priest was available; they listened, shared the pain and consoled the family members.  Praying together often drew people back from the edge of despair. 


One day as Mariana was taking the bus to an adjoining parish, the bus was caught in the cross fire of a gun battle.  The passengers “hit the floor” until they got beyond danger, then got back in their seats and continued to their destination.   


Maricarmen continued her service to the CIRM (Mexican Conference of Religious Institutes) and the CLAR (Latin American Confederation of Religious Women and Men) which included extensive travelling throughout Latin America.  Rafaela accepted another year as Diocesan coordinator of Catechesis and in that capacity was a frequent visitor to the parishes of the Diocese.   The sisters continued to teach and offer their services at the Diocesan Seminary and at the Paul VI Institute for the Formation of Pastoral Agents, as well as several lay organizations. The oblates remained faithful and grew as they gathered for monthly meetings.  


From January to April the sisters gave extra time and energy to prepare for the Visitation and Election of Prioress which were scheduled for April.  They were disappointed and saddened to hear that Sister Esther Fangman, President of the Federation of St. Scholastica, could not be present because of illness.  However they gladly welcomed sisters Mary Catherine Wenstrup and Christine Vladimiroff as their visitators.  


Summertime brought travel for initial and ongoing formation: Cecilia went to Rome for the program for Benedictine Women; Mariana went to Winnipeg to participate in the Benedictine Spirituality Workshop and Retreat (BSWR) in preparation for her final profession;   Lizeth went to Mexico City to the Pontifical University for Scripture study.


Althea became ill at the end of June. After several days in the hospital she returned home still weak because of a slight stroke.


Helen Henry, Sisters Michele and Patricia’s mother, had been living with the community since her husband, Leo passed away in 1995.  In August, she decided that having celebrated her 103rd  birthday maybe she shouldn’t be trying to go up and down stairs several times a day, so she moved to a downstairs bedroom  


The community continued its contact with the Benedictine schools in Mexico City.  At the beginning of the year Mechtild and Michele had attended the 45th anniversary celebration of Colegio Guadalupe of Tulpetlac on the outskirts of Mexico City.   


In the fall Sister Janelle Maes o.s.b., who had grown up with Michele and Patricia, came to visit from Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, Kansas.  They had made some attractive sightseeing plans for her days in Torreon, but that all changed when Janelle fell and sprained her ankle three days after her arrival.  Thanks to good medical attention and the sisters’ care, Janelle recovered fully, but rather than travelling, she sat with her foot elevated and gave three workshops in CEDIMSE on anger management, pardon and reconciliation.  


On December 3rd Helen, passed away. She had spent a peaceful day, but at 5:30 she had a coughing spell that led to a fatal heart attack.  Only a few hours earlier she had awakened from her afternoon nap bright and smiling.  Helen died the way she had planned and prayed to go. She had often said:   “I just want a simple little death without any fuss”.   In spite of being 103 years old, her death came as a shock to the community.


Helen had been part of the founding process of Monasterio Pan de Vida.  In 1992, the year the sisters were making the final arrangements for the move to Torreon, Helen and Leo had moved to Torreon and rented a little house in a residential neighborhood not far from the monastery.  During the early years in Torreon the sisters would often have Sunday dinner at the Henry’s.  When Leo passed away in April of 1995, the sisters convinced Helen to come and live at the monastery.  For thirteen years she had shared many aspects of their community life.  


Although she never learned Spanish, Helen had friendly and welcoming body language, which is extremely important in the Mexican culture, and she was a great prayer. When people called the monastery with a special need, they often started by saying, “Please ask Helen to pray for us”.


At the end of December Rafaela went with permission to stay with her sisters and help share the burden of family illness.  


The community went through all of the customary December rituals, the meal for the volunteers at CEDIMSE, the traditional Mexican “Posada” prayer with the larger community; decorating the monastery and the center, exchanging gifts, etc., but a shadow of sadness hung over them.  Gradually the spirit of Advent and Christmas seeped into their hearts and in the midst of their sorrow, the Word became flesh.



In sharp contrast to the sadness mentioned above, the community rejoiced as they commemorated Maricarmen’s XXV anniversary of her first profession.  The sisters traveled to Culiacan, Sinaloa to celebrate with Maricarmen’s family and give witness to Benedictine life in her hometown.  The religious ceremony was followed by a great Mexican fiesta.      On the Feast of St. Scholastica they again celebrated at the parish church in Torreon.  Christine Klaus, a community friend from Germany came for the festivities.


In February Sister Esther Fangman visited the community to facilitate a workshop on communication skills.  However from the outset she realized that the sisters needed the opportunity to deal with their grief and so she worked with them in a very healing, helpful way.  


On March 16th, at vespers, the sisters joyfully received Lizeth Padilla into the novitiate in the presence of her family, the oblates and a few close friends.


During Holy Week, the community continued with the custom of helping out at several small chapels that form part of their parish.   Patricia, Michele and Mariana went to Francisco Villa, Bocanegra and Moctezuma.  Mayte Martínez and Dolores de Lara joined the community as part of their vocation discernment process.   


In April one of the two community cars was stolen from in front of the monastery.  For several months the sisters managed to organize their outings, carpool and use more public transportation to cover their needs, but by August they were able to purchase a used Toyota Corolla.


June brought pre-chapter meetings in Illinois. Patricia, Michele and Cecilia represented Monasterio Pan de Vida.  At the same time Maricarmen traveled to South America for the XVII General Assembly of the CLAR.   Things were strangely quiet as Mechtild, Althea, Mariana and Lizeth kept life moving at the monastery.  


On the Feast of the Transfiguration Mariana made her perpetual monastic profession as a Benedictine Sister of Monasterio Pan de Vida.  It was a very exciting and joyful event to have the first monastic profession of a sister from Torreon.  Family and friends came from Cuencame, Mexico City, Toluca, Culiacan and the United States to celebrate with the community.  The monastery chapel was too small for such a grand celebration, so Mariana chose St. Joseph Parish Church and the reception that followed was across the patio at the Diocesan Pastoral Gathering Place.  The sisters had decided on a community tunic made of natural cotton, to wear at special liturgical occasions which added to the solemnity of Mariana’s ceremony.  


In the midst of all the special events, the monastic rhythm continued and was balanced with a response to day to day needs.  Mechtild helped to care for Althea as she gradually needed more and more assistance and attention.  Althea’s  presence was very special in the community and for friends and neighbors alike.  It was marked by joy, prayerfulness and a capacity to welcome everyone in a way that opened minds and hearts to respond to God’s love.


At CEDIMSE new projects were developing: people from diverse groups gathered the first Wednesday of the month to do social analysis.  More people were coming to the Centering Prayer meetings; a new group of oblates met on one Wednesday evening a month.  At  9:00 p.m. when the meetings ended, those with cars gave rides to those who had walked to the meeting earlier in the evening.   The youth group branched out into new activities.   


Patricia went to Mexico City once every few months to meetings with the Base Group and/or to lend some service to the schools.    In September she went to Hermosillo, Sonora to spend some time with Rafaela and her sisters.


Drug related violence continued to escalate and people began to share their stories at CEDIMSE, something they had been afraid to do previously. In general the sisters, as well as the lay people developed the practice of social analysis which included:

• Attention to the situation and to how it was affecting the local community:

• Ongoing prayer for the situation;

• Solidarity with those who were suffering the consequences most directly;

• Efforts to find ways to help;

• Networks with others who were seeking  well informed and well intentioned solutions;

• Efforts to make necessary changes.



Shortly after the year got underway the community learned of the earthquake in Haiti.  Mexico was quick to respond in its offer of aid.  The Monastery was able to contribute to the relief of Haitian women through “Centro Lindavista” in Mexico City.


In February Rafaela spent a week in Torreon, giving extra time to Althea whose health was failing.  


Throughout the year the violence increased: extortions, kidnappings and assassinations became everyday occurrences and touched the lives of neighbors, friends and those who came to CEDIMSE for help.    Of the many shocking events that horrified people across the country, perhaps the worst was the discovery in August of that year, of a mass grave of 72 immigrants who had been murdered as they were crossing Mexico from Central America on their way to fulfilling the great American dream.   The political and economic situation continued to deteriorate and people seemed to be losing hope for reestablishing the social fabric that was in shreds.  


CEDIMSE continued to offer a safe place where those of all ages could meet and find comfort and encouragement.  Community ties were strengthened as the sisters and the different groups grew in faith and solidarity and sought together to find the elements needed to strengthen themselves, their families and society.  


The sisters’ ministries beyond CEDIMSE were growing as they reached out to participate in more lay groups and movements, mainly in the areas of spiritual formation, human development and social analysis.  At the Diocesan level the sisters continued to teach at the Paul VI Institute and their participation extended to CECAFF (Center of Evangelization, Commitment and Faith Formation) as well as the Diocesan commissions for Religious, Youth, Catechesis and Vocations; along with CARITAS (Catholic Charities).  The community also took part in ecumenical dialogue and prayer.  Maricarmen continued her work in the CIRM and the CLAR and Patricia coordinated the activities of ABECCA (The Benedictine.-Cistercian Association of the Caribbean and the Andes). 


During Holy Week Maricarmen, Mariana and Lizeth went on mission to Sinaloa to work with a group of Mexican internal migrants from the state of Guerrero who follow the planting and harvesting of crops each year with their families.  The sisters learned a great deal from their experience and were moved and saddened by the extreme poverty they encountered.


In August Maricarmen was grieved by the news of the death in an automobile accident of her nineteen year old nephew, Tavo, a vibrant young college student.    Shortly after that Mariana’s dad was hospitalized for an extended period of time with a serious pancreatic disorder.   Lizeth’s grandmother also began to fail physically and moved from the family farm into town with Lizeth’s parents.  The sisters shared the sorrow and helped to carry the load one way or another, in each of these family situations.


Patricia and Maricarmen had the opportunity to participate in the 6th International CIB  Symposium in Rome from September 8th to 15th; Maricarmen as a presenter and Patricia as the representative of the Benedictine women’s communities of ABECCA . The topic, Benedictine Women – Witnesses of Hope, was dealt with from many different perspectives and the opportunity to share with followers of the Rule of Benedict from all parts of the globe was a unique experience.  After the meeting they went to Germany for a few days to visit friends who had visited the monastery in Torreon and are strong supporters of  the community.




In February the sisters began to work with the psychologist Gilda Urbina who was specialized in Group dynamics and systems theories.  They were feeling the need to broaden their knowledge and ability to handle conflictive situations. Human development and community relations had been a priority for the group since their beginnings in Mexico City in 1990.  As the community grew, group dynamics shifted and the sisters decided to revisit this important area of their life.


In March in CEDIMSE there were many activities to celebrate Women’s Month:  conferences, films, a variety of free services, and a piece of cake for mothers and grandmothers.


For the second year Maricarmen, Mariana and Lizeth spent Holy Week in Sinaloa with migrant workers from Guerrero and their families.  


On May 8th the community rejoiced as Lizeth made her first monastic profession.  She chose the third week after Easter because the Gospel readings centered on Jesus, the Bread of Life, the text that had inspired the name of the monastery.  


In August Maricarmen was a keynote speaker at the Annual Assembly of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in Los Angeles, CA. Patricia traveled with her and helped out as interpreter when needed.  Maricarmen spoke on Mystical Experience and Cultural Change.


Sisters Kathy White and Joan Marie Steif from Emmanuel Monastery in Baltimore, Maryland visited the community in August and facilitated a workshop on Transition in Leadership. Their input was very helpful to the community, since they come from a small monastery of relatively recent foundation and they were very sensitive to the reality of this monastery.  In the context of prayer and a rewarding dialogue, the sisters reaffirmed their commitment to move forward as a monastic community that offers an alternative to today’s society.  They would continue to adapt according to their possibilities and the signs of the times.    Part of the conversations centered on community leadership in the present and the future.   This workshop along with the community’s sessions with Gilda Urbina, offered ample opportunities for conversion and adaptation.


With the beginning of a new semester Cecilia and Lizeth began teaching classes at the Diocesan seminary and Mariana became involved with FUUNDEC (Forces United for our “Disappeared” in Coahulia).


The sisters had been trying to purchase a piece of property (about 1300 sq. ft.) adjoining the monastery for several years.  The land belonged to a family with thirteen children.  The wife had passed away without leaving a will, so it fell to Michele to get the authorization and legal documentation of all the family members, a job that took her more than a year to complete successfully. Her efforts were rewarded when the deed for the property next door was finally signed.


In the latter half of October, Michele and Patricia fulfilled a long time wish of Helen’s.  The two traveled to the land of their ancestors.  Leaving Torreon they flew to Ireland from there to England, then crossed the Channel to France where they met friends.  As their Irish ancestors would have said, “They had a grand time!”


Mechtild remained very active, helping with hospitality, transportation, prayer and the care of Althea.  The two of them had spent years working, praying and having fun together.  They had a lifetime of shared friendship and experience that included the novitiate, mission life, the founding years in Mexico City and now Torreon. Their many years of monastic life well lived were a witness for the community of “hearts overflowing with the unspeakable sweetness of love” (RB Prol. 49).  


During the year 2011 the violence that had been increasing steadily around the monastery, came even closer to home.  Conservative statistics were reporting 50,000 drug related deaths since 2006; 20,000 disappeared and 120,000 people who were forced to relocate.  People lived in fear and took every precaution in such simple daily tasks as getting the children to school.  Several victims were family members of neighbors, oblates and friends.  In response to this reality the community organized prayer vigils and, when possible , accompanied the families in their suffering at wakes and funerals.  


They asked themselves: “What more can we do to show our sympathy and solidarity with our people in their grief?  They decided to use the money they usually spent on Christmas gifts to assist the families in their needs.



As they looked back it seemed that in recent years the community’s  ”joys and hopes” as well as the “sorrows and anxieties”  intensified with each passing year.  This intensity had become the new “normal” at the same time that the sisters became more grateful each day for life’s small gifts.  


On January 4th Althea had a bad fall and though she had no fracture, from this point on her health was not the same.  During the next three months she was in and out of the hospital.  She seemed to know something that the rest of the sisters could only imagine.   Although she had some pain, she never lost her attitude of grateful joy.  


In March Magdalena Holzttrattner came from ADVENIAT   in Germany and spent some time with the sisters and the community of CEDIMSE.   She stayed at the monastery while she visited several projects in the area and later Maricarmen traveled with her to Ciudad Juarez.  The sisters remember a special moment when she sang “Amazing Grace” while they participated in the anointing of Althea. 


On April 5th, Holy Thursday in the early afternoon she left this earthly home and went to celebrate the last supper with Jesus. Sisters Antoinette and Josephine from Monasterio de San Benito, as well as friends from Mexico City and Toluca came to accompany the sisters and the larger community in Torreon in the celebration of Althea’s life.


From the time Althea arrived in Torreon in 1992 she made a profound impression on those she met.  In her early years as an English teacher in CEDIMSE, the children loved her, laughed with her and learned both English and how to be gentle, loving little people..


Althea helped out at the parish and many days—hot, cold, sunny, dusty, rainy or windy, she walked the streets, taking the Bread of Life to the sick and elderly.  She was happy and everyone knew it as she spread her love around.    A certain innocence characterized Althea along with an outstanding spirit of service…She expressed her joy in dance, cooking a feast day meal, and probably most of all eating an ice cream cone or drinking a cold glass of beer.


In her last years she was like a little candle, taking light with her wherever she went  and brightening the lives of all those around her.  She was who she was, a Benedictine Sister living the fullness of an ancient rule of life in the here and now.  She continues to be a role model for each sister in the community.


Sister Lynn McKenzie o.s.b. came to the monastery in May to preside at the election of the prioress for the term 2012-2016.   Unfortunately the President of the Federation, Sister Glenna Smith, had to cancel her plans to accompany the community due to poor health. This was a disappointment for the sisters since they had been looking forward to Glenna’s first visit to their monastery. Patricia was asked to continue four more years as prioress, knowing that these years would be a time of transition and that shared leadership would characterize this term even more than in the past.   The presence of the Spirit was palpable in the entire process of discernment and election and a sense of joy and gratitude prevailed.


In June Maricarmen and Mariana went to Norfolk, Nebraska to a month-long course on the Rule of Benedict given by Sister Aquinata Böckmann o.s.b. They were enriched not only by Aquinata’s teachings but also by the opportunity to live with sisters from many monasteries, countries and continents.   They returned home renewed by having studied the roots of Benedictine spirituality and at the August community meetings shared their experience for the benefit of the whole community.


In July Mariana coordinated the annual two week summer program for almost 100 children of the surrounding neighborhoods.  As the violence continued to grow, CEDIMSE continued to be a safe and peaceful space. 


Patricia was diagnosed with breast cancer in August.  The news came as a shock to the sisters, but as on other occasions, they joined forces to face the situation. After successful surgery Patricia underwent chemotherapy from September to January.   The “Workshop in shared Leadership” that the community had been hoping to have, became a spontaneous reality as each sister took on responsibilities that Patricia couldn’t carry out during those months.


To celebrate their XX anniversary in Torreon, the group organized a series of events to give thanks to God and, at the same time, to encourage and strengthen the local community. The program began in September with a Workshop on “Women in the Everyday Life of the History of Mexico” that Monica Judd, an excellent History teacher and longtime friend of the community, facilitated.  


In November, Dr. Barbara Reid, o.p. from the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, another friend and wise woman gave Video conferences on the topic of Prophetic Women giving birth to Hope.  Barbara had come on other occasions for courses and workshops. However on this occasion, due to negative news coverage about the violence, her employer asked her not to run the risk of traveling to Torreon.  The interactive conferences, held at the Diocesan Pastoral Center- -a safer and more accessible location than CEDIMSE- -were well attended.


On November 19, the community celebrated the anniversary of its arrival in Torreon in 1992 with an open-air Eucharistic celebration in the street in front of the Monastery, as they had done every five years since their arrival.   Their bishop, José Guadalupe Galvan had come in the past for such gatherings, and his presence on this occasion was especially important as the sisters and other participants were taking a risk in order to “reclaim the street” and have the celebration with no special security measures.   The only precaution they took was to schedule the event at 5:00 p.m. rather than later in the evening.  It was a peaceful, prayerful, joyful gathering.


From November 24 to 26 Sisters Anne Shepard, Barbara McCracken and Loretta McGuire joined the community and facilitated workshops at the monastery and in CEDIMSE.  They guided those involved through a series of thought provoking meditations that helped them to share their grief, listen to each other’s stories, begin to heal and pardon and seek together ways to reknit the social fabric that had been so badly damaged by violence in recent years.  This privileged experience offered people a safe place to express their hurt, fears, frustrations and hopes for the future.  The presence of the sisters, their untiring willingness to listen to more and still more….and then wisely and respectfully to respond was healing and soothing, and answered a deep felt need in the community and in CEDIMSE.


It was a joy to share the feast days with Maricarmen’s mother, Mrs. Carmen Ayón de Bracamontes, who joined the community from early November to mid-December.  


Mechtild and Michele were special guests at an alumnae celebration of the 65th anniversary of Colegio Guadalupe in Mexico City.


On December 18th Michele and Patricia received word of their brother Patrick’s death.  Although Pat had been in poor health for several years, his death was unexpected.  




With each passing year the community became more aware of the Divine Presence in the midst of their day to day activity.  


In February Rafaela came to spend some time with the sisters.   From here she and Mechtild went to Mexico City for the 50th anniversary celebration of Colegio Guadalupe in Tulpetlac.   


By March Patricia was well on the way back to normal and resuming her activities. 


There was more travel than usual by community members during the year.  Maricarmen continued her ministry in the CLAR which included services to many religious congregations and conferences throughout Latin America.


In June Patricia and Maricarmen attended the pre-chapter of the Federation of St. Scholastica in St. Leo, FL.


July brought the 150th anniversary celebration of Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, Kansas, the “Grandmother” of Monasterio Pan de Vida.  The original plan was for four sisters to attend, but Mechtild was having problems with dizziness and Lizeth’s dad suffered from a heart attack just days before the planned departure. So Michele and Patricia ended up representing the community.  They had a memorable visit, meeting Wanjira Maathai, daughter of Wangari Maathai, a graduate of the Mount who had been awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 2004;  and sharing priceless moments not only with the sisters, but with old friends from their college days at the Mount.


A major event that involved the whole community directly and indirectly was the Latin American Monastic Meeting (EMLA XI) held in the State of México from July 22 to 29.  More than 100 monastics—women and men, Benedictines, Cistercians and Camaldolese-- gathered to share their experience of Monastic Life in Times of Cultural Transition.  


Patricia, Maricarmen, Mariana and Lizeth worked for ten days at CASALAGO, preparing the Conference Center, welcoming those who arrived; coordinating the Mexican communities who were hosting the event; creating a relaxed and hospitable environment.  Meanwhile Michele, Mechtild and Cecilia kept everything running smoothly at home.   It was an enriching experience, especially for Mariana and Lizeth, as it broadened their vision and gave them the opportunity to make contacts and establish relationships with other monastics from different parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.  


In late summer construction was finally begun on the annex to the monastery.  After years of waiting, negotiating and red tape, the community dream was taking shape in brick and mortar on the small piece of land facing Tenochtitlan Street.  The two story addition was to include a beautiful chapel, a small but adequate library and reception area on ground floor, an office, a small conference room, a guest bedroom and bath as well as a roof terrace and laundry area on second floor.


CEDIMSE continued to be a place for shared prayer, dialogue, formation, human development, friendship and play for those within walking distance as well as for people from other parts of the city.  The Center was able to offer a variety of programs thanks to ths ongoing support of the Monastery and the help of generous benefactors from Mexico, the United States and Germany.  


At the end of November Cecilia requested some time away from community and spent several months with her family in Toluca, before returning to Monasterio de San Benito in Mexico City in August of 2014.  


During the year guests arrived not only from the local community but also from  Mexico City, Toluca, Guadalajara, Monterrey, California and Germany.  The addition to the monastery would make it easier to offer hospitality to those who come for several days and also for those who drop in for a few hours of quiet time and reflection.


On December 15, although there were still some doors and windows missing, the community combined the blessing of the new addition, with a simple ceremony in which Patricia celebrated and gave thanks for her Golden jubilee as a Benedictine.  Family, neighbors and friends from near and as far away as Mexico City and Toluca, filled the chapel, the entrance and overflowed into the street for the celebration.




Early in January the sisters prepared and served a special dinner for the workers and many volunteers who make CEDIMSE possible.  


Since 2013 Maricarmen, besides her busy work schedule, was spending long periods of time in Culiacan, Sinaloa helping to solve some complex family situations and respond to the growing needs of her mother.


On January 23 Dayne Morillo, a young woman who had been in contact with the sisters for three years, arrived from Venezuela to spend several months with the community as part of her vocation discernment process.


In February Patricia went to Mexico City to represent the community at the funeral of Sister Antoinette Markiewicz, one of the founding members of Monasterio de San Benito. 


In March, along with entering into the spirit of Lent, the sisters had a large gathering for the Ecumenical World Day of Prayer for Women.  For the third consecutive year Mariana coordinated several events in CEDIMSE to celebrate Women’s month.  Five sisters also found time to take a long weekend for some rest and relaxation in Saltillo. 


During Easter Week Maricarmen traveled to Madrid, Spain to participate in the National Week of Religious Life organized each year by the Spanish Theological Institute for Religious Life.  She was one of the keynote speakers on the topic: Happiness and Eternal Beatitude: A Passion for Life, a Cry for Resurrection. 


In late April Dayne returned to Venezuela to help out with a family situation.  It was a good opportunity for her to have some distance after her three month immersion with the community.  The political situation in Venezuela had made it more complicated for her to leave the country than when she came in January, but she was able to return on May 22nd.


On June 15, the Solemnity of the Blessed Trinity, Dayne became a postulant.  Since her family was so far away Patricia suggested that she invite a few close friends and oblates.  The chapel was filled with more than forty people!


A few days later Patricia and Maricarmen left for Atchison to attend General Chapter.


July brought community meetings, a visit from Rafaela, summer programs in CEDIMSE, a short trip to San Miguel de Allende for Michele; and  Mechtild’s travel to Peoria to celebrate her birthday along with her sister, Margie.


On July 9th Dayne returned again to Venezuela for what was planned as a two week stay to settle family business related to her late father’s will. However as the political situation in Venezuela continued to deteriorate, this time it was even more complicated for her to get permission to leave the country and to get a plane ticket to return to Mexico.  Summer stretched into fall and her return to the community became a work in progress. She was finally able to schedule her return  for November 5th.


On her way back from Peoria, Mechtild fell in the Dallas airport.  By the time she got back to Torreon that night, she had severe pain in her lower back and hip.   The doctor assured her that there was nothing broken but that she needed rest and time for a full recovery.  Gradually over the next several weeks the pain subsided and she went from wheel chair to walker to a cane. 


Liz Armstrong, a community friend and pastor of St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church in Rocklin CA, came to facilitate the community retreat and spend several days with the sisters.   


Over the long weekend of September 14th to 16th the sisters came together for a series of all-day meetings to continue their Community Self-Study and Focus for 2014-2020.  The prayerful spirit, freedom, enthusiasm, creativity and consensus around key issues, that characterized the gatherings, gave hope and inspiration for the future. 


When Maricarmen returned from Culiacan in September, she took on the role of General Coordinator in CEDIMSE. That fact, along with three projects that were initiated during the course of the year in response to local needs, added new momentum to the Center and brought new people of all ages to its doors.  The programs include:

• A 12 week, 36 hour, seminar for people working through grief and loss.

• A choral group along with classes in music theory, recorder and guitar for children and adolescens.

• “Neighborhood Watch”, a workshop for adolescents to help them discover and develop the cultural expressions (i.e. graffiti artists, different languages etc.) found in their neighborhoods,  as a means for reweaving the social fabric one block at a time.

CEDIMSE has been able to offer these new programs thanks to the collaboration of other non-governmental organizations with similar goals.


As the community concludes this portion of its history, once again Mexico is in the international news, not because of the government’s financial reforms, or the president’s accomplishments in allowing foreign investment in Mexican oil fields.   This time Mexico is facing the unsolved crime of the disappearance and apparent murder of 43 students from a rural teachers’ college in southern Mexico on the night of September 26th,, 2014 .  The slaughter seems to have been committed by a combination of local police officers and cartel hit men and is symptomatic of the drug cartels taking 


Busca la Paz y corre tras ella.

Tenochtitlan 501, Esq. con Calz. Xochimilco
Col. Las Carolinas
Torreón, Coahuila, C.P. 27040
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