Santo Domingo Mission
Motivated by the urgency to respond to the poorest of God's people and the Chapter Documents of 1990 which urged the Community to "take a corporate stand to identify with the poor," the Sisters of Divine Providence began to minister in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in February of 1993.
In Las Cañitas, one of the most deprived barrios in Santo Domingo, the pastor requested that the Sisters be a "presence" to the people. Immediately, they were involved with the youth, the sick and elderly, and the little children in a Center located near a contaminated river.
In these services, the Sisters have been mutually enriched with the people in sharing this "presence." The most recent concern of the Sisters is to develop a program for drug prevention for children between 5 and 12 years of age.
The mission of Santo Domingo is home to Sister Mary Providence Kriley and Sister Myriam Colón. Sister Mary Providence has devoted her life to being present -- being Providence. In Santo Domingo, being present means actively participating in parish life, and most importantly, spending time with the people and listening. Sister Mary Providence ministers at the St. Martin de Porres Center, doing whatever is needed. She dedicates her time to the 30 or more elderly people who visit daily, the blind, ill, mentally handicapped, and lonely. Often one of these individuals brings along a grandchild who has special needs, a child who may not be able to attend school because of behavioral problems. They eat and pray together, they share some fun, while also listening to each other’s joys and sorrows in familiar conversation. She also visits the elderly and the sick who are homebound, bringing her kind words and the Eucharist to them.
Sister’s own words, written in a letter to her community, speak eloquently of her love for the people of Puerto Rico and Santo Domingo and of the inspiration she draws from being among them. “Daily, when I see ladies carrying water, men trying to sell hot buns, fruit, vegetables and eggs, children on the way to school, other little ones without shoes and a few without any clothes at all, I am reminded of a perpetual Exodus on the way to the Promised Land. In the meantime, I continue to try to be a presence to them as each dear person is One for me.”
The program Infantil Emmanuel began about five years ago in response to the crisis created by the barrio of Las Canitas in the Dominican Republic where Sister Myriam ministers. About 125 children ages 5 to 12 participate in the program. Thirty-five counselors work with these children under the direction of Sister Myriam. Twelve of these counselors were once participants in the program. Sister Myriam also has organized a group of young women from various parishes who are participating in vocational discernment.
Santo Domingo Sister
Sister Wendolyn López Santos is the first candidate to profess vows from the Dominican Republic mission, which was established in 1993. During most of these 14 years, Sisters Mary Providence Kriley (from the U.S.), Myriam Colón (from Puerto Rico), and Monika Mrosek (from Germany) have served in ministry there. Sister Monika is presently serving on the General Leadership Team for the congregation in Providence, Rhode Island.