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I Know in Whom I Trust

The IHM Sisters in San Felipe hosted a good-bye event for Bishop Lopez in their IHM House of Studies on Saturday June 8, 2024.

So reads the coat of arms of Bishop Pedro A. Bustamante Lopez, the bishop of Sicuani in Peru, who is being changed to the diocese of Huanaco which is north of Lima. Bishop Pedro came to Sicuani in 2013 as the first native bishop in the diocese which had been led by Carmelite priests as bishops since the beginning of the prelature in 1959. It became a diocese in 2020.

The IHM Sisters in San Felipe hosted a good-bye event for Bishop Pedro in their House of Studies on Saturday June 8. More than 20 Sisters were able to attend which included Sisters that the bishop had brought to the diocese since he came. Sisters came from Mexico: the Disciples of the Good Shepherd, Franciscan Sisters and Carmelite Sisters from El Salvador, Canonesses of the Holy Cross from Peru, Franciscan Sisters from Brazil and Contemplative Sisters from Guatemala.

Ancilla Maloney, IHM, Norma Poma Arpi, IHM, Bishop Lopez, Eileen Egan, IHM
L-R: IHM Sisters Ancilla Maloney, Norma Poma Arpi, Bishop Lopez, and Sister Eileen Egan

Sister Eileen prepared the prayer for the day including a conclusion which consisted of the Bishop and all the Sisters doing a circle dance in the patio that the Benedictines of Weston, Vermont. used to do. Eileen used a recording of music from the south Andes as an accompaniment. The Bishop candidly shared about his time in Sicuani, including his organizing of the entire community to establish an Oxygen plant at the local hospital during the pandemic to provide for the crucial needs of the whole region. During COVID he had a Monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament affixed to a stand attached to the back of a truck, driven to the top of the mountains surrounding the city and blessed the four provinces as he encircled the area.

Eileen was asked as the oldest and longest serving Sister in the Diocese to give a presentation for the Sisters to him, which she did, including many anecdotes. One memorable one took place when the Bishop first arrived. A long line of people came to greet him. After some time someone said,” Elena, do the Pulga! (pulga means “flea” in Spanish). Sister Eileen sings more than 40 action songs so she launched into the “Pulga,” everyone joined in, the Bishop laughed and everyone had a happy time. Fast forward, at the Saturday event, when Eileen hugged the Bishop “good-bye” he said, “Elena, do the Pulga!!! And we did!

Sisters dancing at Bishop Lopez's farewell party June 2024

Afterwards each community of Sisters shared songs and gifts, followed by Mass and then dinner for all.

It was an emotional, happy and sad day for all.

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