Recreating our Presence in Argentina
In our missionary journey around the world, today we will get to know Argentina, the first SSpS mission, started a few years after the foundation of the Congregation.
Argentina is located in the south of the American continent. It has an area of 2. 780 400 km² and a population of 46,000,000. It is the largest Spanish-speaking country on the planet, the second largest in Latin America and eighth in the world. It is divided into 23 provinces and one autonomous city, Buenos Aires – The Capital City.
Composition and Origin of the Population
Since the mid-nineteenth century it has been a sovereign and pluralistic nation, with open doors, which has been able to welcome – and still welcomes – important migratory contingents. It is a country with deep-rooted customs and traditions, some inherited from the immigrants, which it received in the early twentieth century and others from the native peoples who survived the conquest of America. Argentina was a Spanish colony until 1816. It is currently composed of Indigenous Peoples, Migrants of the First and Second Wave and the most recent, New and Assembled Peoples, with increasing emigration. Urbanization is almost absolute and rural depopulation is very noticeable. The acute social inequality and the formation of slums are rising rapidly.
The Church in Argentina is going through a reality of renewal and crisis, where we can appreciate a renewed Episcopate, a diminished and in crisis Religious Life, a Laity in evolution, a Pastoral direction that needs to be revised in all its criteria and perspectives.
When does our history begin in Argentina?
The Province of Argentina begins when four brave women, Sr. Andrea, Gertrud Hegemann, Sr. Xaveria, Maria Kaup, Sr. Scholástka, Theresia Beckert and Sr. Agatha, Theresia Niemann, Missionary Servants of the Holy Spirit, agreed to be sent as Missionaries to Argentina from Steyl, Holland.
They received the Missionary Cross from the Founding Father, St. Arnold Janssen on September 9, 1895, where they also took the Vow of Perseverance. Mothers Maria Helena Stollenwerk and Josepha Hendrina Stenmanns accompanied this process.
The missionaries arrived at Buenos Aires, after overcoming several obstacles and 22 days of crossing. And finally, on November 12, 1895, they arrived at the Port of Diamante. From there, as the Spirit was inspiring, it spread in the vast country, giving rise to three Argentine Provinces, which today, look hopeful in creating a New Argentine Province.
Situation of our presence in Argentina
How many Sisters are we?
At present we count with 159 sisters in perpetual vows, 4 in temporary vows, 2 Novices and 3 Pre-Novices.
How many nationalities enrich our Argentine Province?
Being an international congregation, we have the richness of sharing life and mission with the people from different cultures and nationalities, Sisters arrived from Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Indonesia, India, Philippines, Japan, Korea, Ecuador, Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. A total of 15 nationalities, some sisters also obtained the nationality of the country where they served for a few years and likewise, some took the Argentine nationality,
In which provinces of Argentina do we offer our services?
The Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit are present in 11 provinces: Entre Ríos, Santa Fe, Córdoba, Santiago del Estero, Salta Jujuy, Buenos Aires, Río Negro, Neuquén, Misiones and Corrientes.
How many communities are we in?
We accompany the People in 27 communities including two communities in Ecuador.
In which ministries are we present?
We are present in the following areas: Education, Health, Socio-pastoral Service, (Empowerment of women, people with addictions, children and street people) Parish pastoral and insertions; Pastoral of communication and prayer, Administration and finance; Aboriginal Pastoral, Justice and Peace – VIVAT; Spirituality, initial and ongoing formation; We offer transversal training in all areas.
What are our Blessings?
Our blessings are many, we will only mention some of them such as: The presence of committed lay people in our institutions and various activities. Openness of the Provincial Teams to take New Steps towards a New Argentina. To have a Plan of Activities and be able to work together in the areas of Administration, Education, Initial and Permanent Formation, Socio-Pastoral Area and Communication, Openness, availability, flexibility and search for new ways to respond to the mission in our communities. The interest and search for participation in provincial events of the Elderly Sisters despite their age and increasing limitations.
What challenges us?
It challenges us: how we can make ongoing and professional formation as a priority in view of the mission? Broaden our missionary horizon and maintain the missionary spirit. The socio-economic situation (high inflation). To create life-giving communities.
Vision towards the Future
We have begun an interprovincial journey as Argentina. We project ourselves into the future as a single new Province. This project, gives us the possibility to discern all our works, apostolates and services in the light of the last Congregational Directions, opening ourselves to new spaces and borders.
After more than 100 years of history, as the first country of SSpS mission, we are envisioning giving birth to a new Argentine Province that responds to the signs of the times and to the new forms of mission today.
Endowed with a great flexibility and a spirit of welcoming, we want to renew our passion and missionary commitment by promoting the diversity of gifts and ministries within a new Common Project to be designed together. Whether from Parish Ministry, formal and non-formal education, Health and / or Social Projects in marginal situations (along with women, young people with problematic consumption, etc.), we want to continue crossing the internal borders of the country as intercultural, intergenerational and international communities at the service of the Mission of God.
Sr. Laura Martin SSpS
Sr. Nancy Noguera SSpS
Sr. Veronika Bernadette Grizakova SSpS
Sr. Gladis Ramos SSpS
Watch this video to know more about the SSpS presence in Argentina: