Argentina - Some traces of our time in the neighbourhood of Budge

I would like to tell you, briefly, something of the history of our time in the neighbourhood of Budge, which has left some ’imprints’. It is a poor neighbourhood, close to the federal capital (Buenos Aires), where we arrived in 1971 when the area was being constructed. The Little Sisters and the residents began to create the Christian community San Francisco de Paula. We worked with the people in the struggle for their land; our house served as a community hall for marriages, catechetics, meetings etc. This was until, little by little, the parish centre was built. 
It was a place of formation for several Little Sisters and also for some priests during the first years of their ministry; many Little Sisters passed through this community. We remained there until 1993, when we could see that it was time to leave for somewhere else. During the time that followed, the laity of the neighbourhood kept up contact with the Little Sisters for various reasons. They used to come to the Inmaculada community to talk about their family problems, their concerns for the Christian community, how to continue proclaiming Jesus Christ in the midst of serious difficulties with the priest who was there at the time. In this way, over the years, they confided to us their sufferings and their joys. 
From 2007, in preparation for the centenary of the arrival of the Little Sisters in Argentina (the centenary was in 2010), we organised several meetings in order to study the charism with laity from the different communities where we had been. We began a journey as "Laity of the Family of the Assumption" and, naturally, the laity from San Francisco de Paulo were very numerous. These meetings, which take different forms, have continued up to the present day. 
In recent times, the power of the charism has helped them to journey for more than a year without the stable presence of a priest for the Eucharistic Celebrations, because the parish priest was transferred elsewhere. They organised the celebration of the Word, the catechetics, the different groups of scouts, missionary children and the missionary youth group, in which many young people participate, and also the families who often have several active members. Today, it is a very lively and dynamic community. 
Many persons from the local community continue their apostolate and find nourishment in the charism that supports and strengthens to proclaim God, accompany the sick, have words of encouragement to somebody who needs that, by following up various social questions etc. 
Here are accounts from two of them: 
"In 1973 I made the acquaintance of the Little Sisters of the Assumption in our neighbourhood, Ingeniero Budge: the mission of these sisters was to accompany the very poor families, the sick, aged persons, pregnant women and their children. They had a little pharmacy to distribute medicines to the families who could not afford to buy these things. We worked side by side with the local families so as to build up our community, we visited the sick and we proclaimed Jesus Christ with great love. They accompanied us over a period of twenty-two years, and they sowed a spirituality that still guides us today. It encourages us to continue this work of evangelisation – to proclaim Jesus Christ and to love the poorest of our brothers and sisters by taking them a word of encouragement and hope. Over the years I have served my community through different services, having always the spirituality of the Assumption as the basis of my action; today I am still accompanying the families of Ceferino Namuncura, a very deprived community in another area of the parish, by participating in the community dining centre and, in a special way, accompanying young pregnant mothers, and various problems that may arise in the locality.’
Viyi Salvatierra 
"I was born in a poor area where the streets were of beaten earth, the little houses were of wood with corrugated iron roofs, with large families who came from the interior of the country and adjacent areas. The land was subject to flooding and had to be filled in, but it was situated close to the factories that were a promise of progress and wellbeing for the families. 
From the time I was small I remember that life was very hard; on days when it rained and in winter we splashed about in the mud and breathed in the moist air. Our local chapel was small but filled with families who, on Sundays and holidays, came to lay a brick or do some painting, in addition to the joy of the Mass and the maté we shared. There, where the God of life was very close to us, I came to know the Little Sisters of the Assumption who were living near the Riachuelo in a little house like ours. They mixed with us, were simple, affectionate, attentive to our needs. They visited the sick and looked after them in their houses, going all over the place to find some remedy, shoes or a coat for the grandparents and, of course, accompanying us in the faith especially during the difficult times of the military coup when we had to leave the area for a time, as we were afraid. On our return my brothers being teenagers and I myself ready for the catechism, we met our dear Little Sisters again, still offering us the hope of Christ and encouraging us to persevere. My parents married in the church and we joined the youth groups; I was in a group of young missionaries: we prepared to bring the Word of God every Saturday to our brothers and to pray, celebrate, share the maté, our projects and our worries. But, above all, we used to go around the district visiting the sick and taking part in demonstrations calling for justice. With the mission, the option for life shared with my brothers and sisters was embedded in me. 
The Little Sisters of the Assumption gave our neighbourhood an example of love, joy, service and charity; they transmitted to us a God of hope who is close to us, loves us and is always with us. They are a part of our family, my family is their family, they were a pillar and a guide along the way, I cannot stop thanking God for their presence in the district. Now, I am 45 year old, I am married and I have three daughters and a grandson. My husband and I are leaders in the Infancia y Adolescencia Misionera, IAM, (missionary children and teenagers) and, looking at our reality, I cannot do other than be involved, work, and above all, share the God of Life." 
Griselda Miranda
Viyi and Griselda are women who are very committed in the district and the local community and, after all these years shared with the Little sisters they feel that the charism supports and strengthens them. 
Sr Gladys, community of Concordia – Argentina 
Sr Gladys, Griselda, Sr Glaides, Adan, Norma,
Assumption meeting at Budge
Griselda, Sr Glaides, Adan
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