Panama

From Brooklyn, New York, to Panama

In December of 1958, Sister Mary Euphrasia, Superior of Brooklyn (New York) Sisters of Mercy, received a letter from Father Sylvester Taggart, Provincial of the Vincentian Fathers, requesting 15 sisters to staff St. Mary’s School in Balboa, Panama. When this request was posed to the community the response was enthusiastic and eight Sisters left for Pamama on July 10, 1959. The founding group included: Sisters Mary Bonaventure Mackey, Kathleen O’Brien, Joan Dodge, Mary Magdala Lenihan, Kieran Hartigan, Mary Lorraine Geaney, Eileen Neary and Assunta Boyle.

The number of sisters serving in Panama has varied over the years, as has the kinds of ministry in which the sisters are involved, but the Mercy presence continues as part of the new community, CCASA (Caribean Central and South America).

Left to right: Sisters Barbara Ozelski, Edia López,
Nieves Jiménez, Mercedes Gómez,
Edith
González, Angelina Mitre and Dina Altamiranda.

Sisters Angelina and Mercedes coordinate a Family Center in Panama City where families can participate in workshops, psychological counseling and a variety of holistic health therapies. Sisters Tita, Edith and Nieves minister among the Guaymi Indians in a remote mountain area. Their pastoral ministry includes liturgical celebrations, religious education and accompaniment of the people in their struggles for water, roads, schools, health centers, etc. Sisters Barbara and Dina direct a Women’s Center in Colon, offering workshops in personal and skill development. Services include a Montessori Day Care Center, tutoring for children, psychological testing and treatment, computer classes and holistic health education.