The Daughters of Divine Providence have been in the Yucatan in Progreso and Oxkutzcab (pronounced Osh-kutz-cab), Mexico since 1993. Their mission project was to minister to the people's needs and present conditions. Eleven Sisters presently serve three communities, tending to the physical and spiritual needs of villagers by working in parishes, helping priests, preparing catechists and people to work in liturgy, teaching catechism, preparing Catholics for their sacraments, doing outreach in neighborhoods and tending to the medical needs with volunteers through a dispensary and clinic. Building an ‘Internata,’ a home away from home, for the children of the town was a later missionary opening. Education opportunities for the town children are sparse, inadequate or lacking. They are locked in poverty. Children do not attend school regularly because of lack of interest on the parents part and on the lack of attendance of a teacher, which is a hit and miss situation at the best. The Sisters who run the "Internata" facilitate the success of each student in their care by providing necessary food, clothing, school fees, supplies, homework assistance and encouragement to continue their education. The children, in turn, work as a family to maintain the Internata and gain a spiritual and moral foundation from the Sisters. The Sisters have the children under their care and guidance during the entire school year. Children return to their families on holidays and summer break, distances permitting. The Sisters work very intensely with the people whom they have grown to love and cherish as God's chosen little ones. The needs are vast, but with God's Providence the Sisters continue assisting the people's needs.
As the Sisters observed and listened to the people, it became very clear that a clinic/dispensary was needed. People who need a doctor visit, eye care, dental and emotional assistance was lacking for the town and nearby villages. The Sisters were determined, with God's providence, to address these needs. Volunteers from the Laity association there working with the Sisters began the ground work. The pastor was in full acceptance of the new outreach and offered an unused large room in the church compound. A local doctor, nurse, dentist, and social works heard of this project and willingly volunteered to staff the clinic after their working day was complete. With the help of the Laity association in the United States, with many fund raisings and other donations from friends, the dream became a reality. Many families and people are being helped, God provided. There is a desire to expand this ministry to become "mobile", that is to go out to the distant villages where the people cannot come into the clinic. It is in the works, in God's Provident hands.
FEEDING THE POOR IN OXKUTXCAB AND PROGRESO
Food is a necessity. We cannot live without it, especially good nutritious food. As it is throughout the world, hunger is also a reality in the areas we serve and minister to. Food is not scarce, it is just not accessible to all who cannot to afford to buy it. If the people are eating, they are eating very little and not very nutritiously. Here is where "providence" assists: with many helping hands and donations from the few who can give, food is made available to the needy and hungry. Meals are cooked every day and distributed through a soup kitchen model. People who do not wish to eat in the space provided will bring a bucket type container and food is distributed in that manner. What is important is that as many as can be fed are fed. God always provides enough. One beautiful example example of how God provides through His people is during the children's Mass on Sundays in Oxkutzcab. During the Offertory, the multitudes of children (all ages) bring up food items to feed their less fortunate brothers and sisters. These children come from families struggling to feed themselves, yet they share the little food that they have. It is truly a beautiful sight. Food products are also brought to the villages when the Sisters go to minister their needs and concerns. No one should go hungry. Jesus told us that when we give to the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless, and anyone else in need, we are giving it to Him. (Matthew 25:35-40)