News & Events



Willkommen—Bienvenida—Welcome!   by Sister Ancilla Maloney, IHM 

   For more than ten years the IHM House of Studies in Sicuani, Peru has been blessed with a volunteer from Germany. This year, 19 year old Lea Schwagmann joined Sisters Eileen Egan and Ancilla Maloney as a volunteer for the year in their House of Studies. The girls who reside here are from mountain communities where there are no high schools. The IHM residence enables girls to continue their studies in one of the city's high schools while living in a safe environment.

   The German government gives 10% of its gross domestic product (GDP) every year to charitable assistance programs in developing countries. Lea's diocese of Osnabruck has a program which accesses these funds for its students who have finished high school and who then join service programs in developing countries. The diocese assumes all financial and insurance responsibilities for each volunteer.

   In the city of Cusco in Peru, Germany has a Spanish language program for its volunteers who are both Catholic and Protestant. This year, Lea was joined by about 20 other young German volunteers in the program during the months of July and August. During her high school years she did course work to prepare her for the medical field. She was also a Red Cross volunteer for five years and recently completed six months working with refugees who have come into Germany.

   She was also an exchange student for a year in Michigan where she attended high school while living with a host family. Her own family in Germany is also a host family for foreign students. As a result, Lea has friends all over the world including Costa Rica, Brazil, France, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.

   In Sicuani, Lea lives and works with the girls in the IHM House of Studies. While the girls attend school, Lea volunteers each morning in the nearby medical clinic. On her second day at the clinic she was asked to help deliver a baby!

   From the early years of her education, Lea and all students in Germany study English. Lea is fluent in English and is teaching English to first and second year students in a local high school each afternoon. Lea is also teaching English and math to the girls in the IHM House.

   Needless to say, Eileen, Ancilla and the girls are delighted to have Lea Schwagmann with them for the year.


Lea and Sister Ancilla Maloney at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Nativity, at Huampu, Peru.