Deepa Biswas, IBVM from India, is on mission in Peru since 2008. Full of energy and passion for people, she is now badly coping with the Covid restrictions that impose social distance from neighbours and friends. But she keeps on being an important presence for the community in Huaycan, where she lives, through phone calls. She loves dancing, singing, knitting and listing to the people, but she also appreciates silence and having time to reflect and to feel the presence of God. She has had a long and always fulfilling experience with the CJs since the 90 and she was sure that the time to be together again will arrive sooner than later.
First of all, tell us what are your main ministries now in Huaycán, Peru.
Huaycán is a community located about one hour away from Lima. It is e place is situated between the slopes of two hills, there are hardly any green zones and it’s mainly made up of migrants from the rural areas who have come here looking for a better life. We are mainly involved here in Women Development Center, “Warmi Wasi”. Women face too many violences and abuses, so we work with them, trying to help them in their personal and social development from a gender perspective. In this area, we work also with four schools, working with teachers , students and the parents, organizing workshops with them.
This has been my main ministry since 2018, when we took over the responsibility of the Women Centre. Nevertheless, things have changed due to Covid-19. We cannot continue with the same activities, but we keep on having a close contact with the families and women, mainly through phone calls if there is urgent need we do visit them.
The Pandemic affected the people very badly especially poor. They have no work, no food, therefore increasing the robbery. The situation is very complicated. The political situation of our country is very bad.
From this year, we have started midday meal programme for Children and some adults. We are providing meals for 130 people. At least they can have one healthy meal. At the same time, we have network with different institutions (public and private, from health care to ant trafficking), weaving alliances to offer the best possible well being for the families around.
I am also involved in Spiritual Accompaniment.
How did your vocation begin? And how did you end up in Peru?
I come from a devout Catholic family. I had a desire to become a religious from my childhood. I met the Loreto sisters through a Jesuit priest and my brother spoke about them. I had never thought that I will get an opportunity to become a foreign missionary. Before coming here, I was Principal of a School of our. I was Involved in parish ministry, youth ministry etc. In 2007, Marian Moriarty, Former General of ours requested me to come to Peru. I told my mom casually about it. At that time my mother didn’t want me to go so far away from home. However later on after prayers and discernment, she told me that since you have decided to follow Christ and you have committed yourself to Christ and your Congregation so move forward.
Finally, in May 2008, I arrived in Peru. I was like Abraham, God told him to go to the Promised land, he never knew where he was going but his faith! I too I left my country without knowing where I was coming with whom I was going to stay, what I was going to do, my future etc…. At that time, I didn´t know anything about the country, no language, no culture, nothing. We never had the cellular to find out About the country, but when you have faith, God never let you down like Abraham. I too experienced like Abraham in my daily life. I am a free person, I can easily adapt anywhere, learn language, culture, can adjust with food and people. My parents taught us not to discriminate people. I grew up with the people of different faith. We took part in their festivals, shared our life with them.
How is your relationship with the CJ?
The first time I met the CJ was in 1994, in India. It was my first year as a novice. We went to Patna for our retreat, we went to their house for the profession. 2003 For our Final Vows preparation we were in Varanasi, at that time the Canadian Branch were joining us. Since we were far away from our community, so we went to Cj sisters house to celebrate and shared our desire one day we will be one. we did courses in the Ashram in Varanasi where we met Smitha, Vinita Varghese. 2004 I was in Saddam we had very good relationship with the Cj sisters in Namchi. Celebrated Mary Ward Week together. I have many experiences and very fond memory of our Cj sisters in India.
Then, 2015 we have been together in the Mary Ward summer school in England.
I think from 2007 In Latin America, we have had joint formators meetings, ongoing formation, Provincials, Formators meeting, Visiting and exchanging our experiences. I feel at home with them. Mary Ward is our Mother. I feel that we belong to same family, so why can’t we merge as one?
Tell us something more about you? Which are your passions?
I love listening to people. I like nature, dancing, singing, doing yoga, knitting and, of course, take care of the roof garden. But I also love silence, to have time to reflect, to feel the presence of God in me. As a region of Peru we the daughters of Mary Ward, are very aware of the importance of fighting towards SDG. Before the pandemic, we used to join all the demonstrations in our country, we conduct the awareness program through workshops, seminars in different levels, we are responsible to take care of our mother earth, therefore we need to be more responsible consumer by reducing our carbon footprint. So, I am committed to be more integrated with our casa comun. We need to follow Only 4 R s, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Respect.
Save the Mother Earth. Save our Casa Comun.