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New Candidate Welcomed in Sicuani, Peru

On November 19, 2016 Sister Ellen Maroney welcomed Giovana Fuentes Bendivez into the IHM Candidacy program during a simple ceremony which took place in the Chapel of San Filipe, in Sicuani Peru. IHM Sisters Eileen Egan, Ancilla Maloney, Kathy Kurdziel, Tomasa Fernandez and Norma Poma Arpi, five IHM Associates Maura, Maria Cruz, Delphina, Casilda, and Matilde, as well as friends, neighbors, members of the youth group, co-workers and young women from the IHM House of Studies gathered to pray and wish Giovana well as she began her journey toward membership in the IHM Congregation.  A lovely liturgy, planned by Giovana, followed the entrance ceremony. IHM associates served light refreshments after the liturgy.

Giovana, the daughter of Mario Fuentes and Evangelina Bendivez de Fuentes, was born and raised in Arequipa, Peru. Giovana is the fourth of seven children all of whom live in Arequipa. She attended elementary and secondary school in Arequipa.  Giovana first earned a certificate as an executive secretary and later she completed a degree in psychology at the Women’s University of the Sacred Heart in Lima, Peru and subsequently earned her license as a clinical psychologist.

Giovana met the IHM Sisters in Lima while she was studying at the University and she kept In touch with them even after she was employed as a psychologist at a Fe y Alegria School and at the Clinic of the Holy Cross Fathers in Lima.  Three years ago, she came to live with the IHMs for nine months to get to know the community better.  In the fall of 2015, Giovana petitioned to enter the candidacy program.  After appropriately terminating her service to her clients in Lima, Giovana closed her apartment in Lima and moved to Sicuani in May of 2016 to begin a period of pre-candidacy.   She adjusted very well to the life in Sicuani and ministers part-time as a psychologist for ALPINE (Association for the Support of Exceptional Children). She also volunteers with the Office of Social Justice which serves abused children and adults. Because of her expertise, Giovana partners with the local bishop to do radio programming on issues affecting the youth and families of the region.

An accomplished folk dancer and a lover of music, Giovana teaches dancing to the young women in the IHM House of Studies and plays, sings and teaches the young musicians in the parish.

Sisters Eileen Egan and Ancilla Maloney will continue as guides and mentors during this period of Giovana’s formation. In her presentation of Giovana during the entrance ceremony, Sr. Eileen said,”Giovana has a profound desire to be a woman religious.  She is generous, compassionate, sensitive and responsible.  She left Arequipa where there are many opportunities to be in mission with us to the poor in the Southern Andes.  She is struggling to learn English in order to be able to communicate with the members of the Congregation when she comes to the United States to complete her formation.  Despite many challenges, Giovana has the courage and willingness to share the good news of the reign of God with the needy of our world.”  May the whole congregation bless and pray for Giovana as she takes this courageous step.

Giovana Fuentes

IHM Sisters join in the ceremony and celebration of the entrance into the IHM Candidacy Program of Giovana Fuentes Bendivez. Pictured
L-R following the ceremony are Sisters Eileen Egan, Tomasa Fernandez, Norma Poma Arpi, Giovana Fuentes Bendivez, Ellen Maroney,
Ancilla Maloney, and Kathryn Kurdziel.