Mary Bloom Center - Peru Earthquake Relief
c/o Holy Family Parish
9622 - 20th Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98106
I am sure that you heard about the terrible damage caused by the August 15 earthquake in Peru. For me it had a personal poignancy because a dear friend died in the earthquake. Her name was Sister Elizabeth Ore Ventura (her picture is on the right). She was a member of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul who serve the poor of Peru, especially orphans. She served many years at the orphanage in Puno. To the left is a picture I took last year of “Sor Elizabeth” and the three other Vincentian Sisters who staff the Puno orphanage. For almost ten years the Mary Bloom Center has worked very closely with the orphanage.
In 2006 Sor Elizabeth was transferred to Pisco on the coast, where she worked this past year. On August 15 she was attending Mass at the Church of San Clemente when the earthquake struck, killing over 85 people. Another Vincentian Sister, Sor Antonieta Perla Cavagneri (picture below) also perished when the church collapsed. With them were several children who died at their sides. I ask your prayers for the eternal rest of these beautiful Sisters and for all who died in the earthquake, as well as prayers that God will console their loved ones – and inspire many people to assist the victims of this terrible natural disaster.
Sister Elizabeth was a cheerful person, completely dedicated to the children and the poor she served. Her parents lost a wonderful daughter, her sibling an outstanding sister and for the children, especially the orphans she served in Puno and Pisco, it was like losing a mother. We join the orphan children and the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in their grief. In addition to the loss of lives, they suffered destruction of their property. Schools, orphanages and convents in Pisco and other cities were badly damaged or completely ruined.
Right after the earthquake struck, someone gave me $200 for earthquake relief. I notified Obst. Luz Marron, director of the Mary Bloom Center in Puno. She used the $200 to purchase 28 blankets, which were sent to Pisco, along with a shipment of aid from the people of Puno. Any donations received will be used for the most immediate needs, as well as projects which will help people get back on their feet after this terrible disaster. During the month of July (winter in the Southern hemisphere) Luz distributed blankets to needy families in Puno (see pictures below). Thanks to your support, the Mary Bloom Center is able to help some of the neediest people in Peru.
If you wish to make a donation, please write your check to “Holy Family Parish” with “Mary Bloom Center” or “Peru earthquake relief” in the memo. I will be visiting Peru from Oct 1 to 25 and will be talking with the Vincentian Sisters and others about how best to direct long-term assistance.
--Fr. Phil Bloom
Pastor - Holy Family Parish, Seattle
Vincentian Sister at site of collapsed
church in Pisco (August 2007):
Distribution of blankets in Puno, Peru by Mary Bloom Center director, Obst. Luz Marron, accompanied by her daughter, Melani: