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A special guest joined Providence Health International’s service trip to Guatemala last May. Former general superior of the international congregation of the Sisters of Providence, Sister Kathryn “Kitsy” Rutan added her gifts to the talented team of Oregon employees.
As a vital member of the stove installation team, Sister Kitsy – just 77 years young – traveled the twisting mountain roads and climbed the steep hillside towards a goal of reducing serious health hazards for 40 families in the village of Sehaquiba. She brought with her the pioneering spirit and comforting presence of a Sister of Providence.
Excerpt from Sister Kitsy’s reflection:
“As a team, living and working together for seven days, we came to know and appreciate each other and to experience ourselves in new ways in the midst of these families and the community. As was expressed often in shared reflection times, their gift to us was so much more than anything we gave or brought to them. We reflected that, as we encountered the physical poverty in which these families live, we also experienced the value that they place on family and community and the strength and beauty of their culture.”
“At the conclusion of the construction and installation, the wife/mother was invited to light the fire in her new stove. This was, in each instance, a holy and sacred moment. She brought the kindling and some wood, placed this in the fire box of the stove and dropped the lighted match. The fire ignited, began to burn, the stove top was placed over the fire and the smoke made its way outside through the newly installed stove pipe. One member of the team then blessed the new stove and prayed for the family, asking God to bless them with good health.”
Providence Health International intends to have a sister on more teams in future, providing teams with a deeper connection to the sisters’ Mission of international work. Watch for Sister Kitsy’s full story in the fall issue of Caritas.
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