Irish Dominican Sister new Mission to South America
-Sr Susie O’Rawe OP to travel to Tarija in Bolivia-
The Dominican Sisters Cabra today, (July 30th 2014) announced that one of their Congregation currently based in Ireland, Sr Susie O’Rawe OP will travel to Tarija in Bolivia as a Missionary on behalf of the Sisters. This is in line with their commitment to missions in areas of need. Sr Susie will travel to Bolivia at the beginning of August. She will support the Mission Area in Argentina which has sisters in Bolivia for the past 10 years. In total, there are 16 Cabra Dominican Sisters based in Latin America.
Sr Susie’s work will focus primarily on working with those who have been victims of human trafficking which remains a serious issue in Bolivia. Bolivia is the second poorest country in South America, with the majority of the population living in poverty or extreme poverty. There is a high degree of violence and corruption in the country. The decision to send Sr Susie to Bolivia follows an analysis by the Sisters of local community needs in the area.
The Dominican Sisters Cabra have had a presence in Bolivia since 1998 and are engaged in a number of programmes including a Peace Education Programme that trains teachers and community leaders in conflict resolution and prevention of violent behaviours, and a Pastoral Programme for Human Mobility. The Dominican Sisters also provide education programmes to school going children who may be at risk from family violence, poverty and alcoholism.
A recent initiative has resulted in the establishment of a night shelter in Tarija for migrants or those who are escaping from human traffickers. This is located on diocesan premises in the city centre and can provide accommodation for up to 12 people.
Commenting Sr Susie O’Rawe OP said, “I look forward to contributing to the very successful work that is being undertaken by the Missionaries in Bolivia. This Bolivian mission was of interest to me for many reasons. I have been very struck by the work that is happening and emerging in Tarija, Bolivia.
This new mission is an immense challenge for me as I now have to go outside myself and really live the chaos of not knowing what lies ahead for me. I have to learn a new language and try to understand and immerse myself in another culture. In one way it is liberating to do something new and adventurous but it is also really challenging for me to leave behind the known for the unknown.”
Sr Susie was also inspired by the words of Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel which encouraged her to explore new Dominican missionary horizons: “Each individual Christian and every community is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor, and for enabling them to be fully part of society. This demands that we be docile and attentive to the cry of the poor and to come to their aid.”
Sr Helen Mary OP, Congregation Prioress of the Dominican Sisters commented “From our very first mission to South Africa over 150 years ago, the history of the Dominican Sisters Cabra lies in extending our work across the globe. We currently have a presence inIreland, South Africa, Portugal Latin America and Louisiana, USA, and provide valuable work in local communities to assist those that are most in need. We look forward to the contribution that Susie will make in Tarija to the number of valuable programmes that are taking place in the local community.”
Sr Susie is from Belfast. She joined the Dominicans in 2003, aged 40 after careers in nursing, overseas development and Marketing. After her Masters in Theology and Chaplaincy, she ministered as Chaplain for 5 years in Dominican College Griffith Avenue.