By Marjorie O'Sullivan, Former President

Marjorie O'Sullivan

Who could imagine that a friendship begun in lush, affluent Boca Raton, Florida, might rekindle thirty years later in the dusty brown sands of Alto Trujillo, Peru?

Sister Immaculata, a soft spoken, irresistible Irish Mercy sister turned missionary, did believe "the poor are the treasure of the church" and thus chose to pitch her tent among them. First she worked high in the remote Andes village of Mache; then, when her doctor forbade the very rough rides up and down the mountain (her spine had fractured!) she settled among the masses struggling for survival in the outskirts of Trujillo, a coastal city in northern Peru.

The Ministry of the Good Shepherd arose about ten years ago in Boca Raton as friends (Ed and Betty Heemskerk) asked others to please open their hearts and respond to Immaculata's urgent pleas for help.

Ever a "hand-up" not a "hand-out" missionary, Sister engaged the people and envisioned with them fruitful projects – study centers, computer labs, child care centers, kitchens, school transport for disabled children, a flock of strong sheep, a dental clinic – to name a few.

Over the months, it was decided to give the Ministry of the Good Shepherd a more formal structure. As a tax exempt, non-profit corporation, it offer benefits (donors can deduct gifts from their taxes) and carries legal responsibilities.

Some simple by-laws were established, mission and vision statements were written, and officers selected to see to necessary tasks. Yours truly was asked to preside for the first year or two and I did my best to serve.

The Ministry of the Good Shepherd will continue to welcome your donations. We will also seek to deepen our awareness of poverty's causes. In addition, we hope to facilitate trips to Peru for us to get to meet and be in solidarity with those who struggle for life, opportunity, and dignity.

Read about :
• Sister Immaculata's story... in her own words
• Founding of the Good Shepherd Ministry by Ed Heemskerk, founder and former President
• Our Mission, Vision, and 2013 goals by Jerry Fickel, President
• The Irish in Peru
• Alto Trujillo, La Libertad, Peru
• Mache, La Libertad, Peru

Ministry of the Good Shepherd P.O. Box 837 Boca Raton, FL 33429