The Latin American Unit comprises six missions in three countries Chile, Peru and Ecuador.
In Chile there are two missions:
- Lo Valdivia, Curico founded in 1982
- Iquique founded in 1992
Peru also has two missions:
- Eucalyptus de Villa, Lima founded in 1993
- Mariategui, Lima founded in 1995
The remaining two missions are in Ecuador:
- Chone founded in 1993
- Quito founded in 1988
The Presentation Sisters have also served in Santiago, Chile between 1986 and 1999, in Flavio Alfaro, Ecuador from 1983 to 2001 and in Guayaquil, Ecuador during the years 1997 to 2002.
The mixing of the races between the local ethnic groups and people of Spanish origin who came to these lands over 500 years ago is the history common to Latin America. A great part of the population is what we call “mestizo” (mixed race) while there is also a large presence of indigenous peoples – quechuas, ayamaras and mapuche, who maintain their culture and language. Spanish is the common language of the majority, while Catholicism is the professed religion.
Geographically the three countries are united by the Andean Mountain Range to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. At the same time each country is distinguished by its particular landscape and geographical features – the mountain ranges of Peru and Ecuador, the deserts of Peru and Chile, the valleys and coastal regions in all three countries and the rain forests and jungle areas of Peru and Ecuador while the Patagonian region in the south of Chile boasts of its uniqueness.
The presence of the Presentation Sisters in Chile dates back to 1982 when a group of Irish sisters arrived from New Zealand to begin the first mission in a rural region of that country in a place called Lo Valdivia. Responsibility for this mission was passed to the Northern Province, Ireland in 1991.
A group of sisters from the South West Province, Ireland came to Flavio Alfaro, Ecuador to begin a mission in the coastal region of that country in 1983 and later the first Presentation Union mission was begun in Lima in 1993 – this mission being founded by sisters who had lived in Chile and in Ecuador.
Latin American Unit:
In 1996 the Latin American Unit was formed when the sisters in the three countries together with leadership teams in Northern and South West Provinces Ireland and General leadership discerned this as the way forward for the mission in Latin America.
Presently there are 13 sisters in the Unit originating from Ireland, Chile, India and Australia
Mission Statement Latin American Unit: (Summary)
- We commit ourselves to live our missionary option within and from the perspective of Latin America.
- This missionary option is an option for the poor – a call to live the Gospel with the most marginalized and oppressed.
- As women we are compelled to seek creative ways to change an unjust system that crushes the most oppressed of this continent.
- We affirm that the people are authors of their own lives and we feel ourselves called by the sacredness of their cultures to discover with them how to be a prophetic people.
- Choosing to live among the poor we share the life, culture, customs and language in a spirit of friendship and trust.
We assume the spirituality of the people expressed in their lives, reflections and celebrations.