By Sr Ita McElwain
It was a great joy for me to be invited, two years ago, to return to Santiago, Chile to celebrate 40 years of the Columban Sisters’ Mission in that beautiful country. Sisters Gemma Shelley, Kathleen Mary Riordan and I pioneered the mission there in 1974. This was during the early days of the oppressive military regime when life was very difficult for people. They suffered greatly; almost daily we would hear stories of people being hauled away, some were never to be seen again. We had great Church leaders under Cardinal Raul Silva who inspired and strengthened us all by his great faith, his unceasing work for justice, his concern for the poor. The Church, though suffering, was alive and vibrant and it was our joy and our privilege to be part of these growing basic Christian Communities.