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Marist Presence in Equador



The Marist community of Catacocha

06/02/2013: Ecuador

The creation of the Marist work in Equador is a process that goes back to the year 1929 and came to completion on 10 November 1957. The morning of that day, Catacocha, a little town of the Province of Loja, in the south of the country, saw arrive seven valiant men, bold pioneers of Catholic education. They were: Luciano, Alberto, Jaime, Isidro, Bernardo, Félix and David, who thanks to the untiring negotiations of Mons. Jorge Guillermo Armijos, the local parish priest, made this dream possible. The Brothers took immediate control of the school “Nuestra Sra. de El Cisne”, today converted into “Unidad Educativa Marista.” Besides their concern for education, the brothers have carried out social projects in the rural communities or quarters of the canton, as well as promoting movements for children and youth with the objective of helping them grow in values.

The arrival of the Marist brothers brought about a true revolution in education, since at that period people practiced the philosophy of “letters with blood inside”. The situation changed progressively with the pedagogy of love of Marcellin Champagnat: “to educate is to love.” The Marist Community of Catacocha has given example, over these 55 years, of good will and solidarity through various social projects:  

In the first place, is the accompaniment the Brothers provide, conjointly with the parish priest, for the rural communities. Evangelization through catechetics, and the weekly missions in the period of the school holidays, have become a custom.

In the last fifteen years, the project of the School Libraries has been carried out. There are 13 schools in the quarters surrounding Catacocha that with the aid of Cáritas of Valencia, Spain, have benefitted with a little library, furniture included, so that the children have within reach appropriate works for reading.

In the Barrio Naranjo Dulce, with the help of the NGO Manos Unidas, the hall – Chapel which was almost in ruins, has been refurnished. Equally, in agreement with the International Plan and the Municipality of Paltas, the school restaurant has been built.

Another interesting project was the “Cutting and making”, carried out with the collaboration of two teachers of manual skills and eight sewing machines which arrive each weekend  at each of the benefitting quarters. 

The “Proyecto Manguera” is also something that has been carried out and is now continuing. This project consists in distributing “piped water” to all the houses of the rural communities around Catacocha, given the drought conditions of most of the year.

For this, the barrio is visited, the flow of existing waters examined with their respective heights and a simple sketch is made noting the houses that could be supplied and their  respective distances. The Project distributes the necessary hoses and a cistern or tank of 500 litres per house. This project has helped 31 barrios. We have a total of 517 houses or families benefitting and some 160 kilometers of hoses used. This project has been financed by the NGO Medicus Mundi of Gipuzkoa.

Thanks be to God for the life he gives us and we will continue helping.

Bro. Saturnino González
Marist Community of Catacocha

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