20th Anniversary of the Death of Sister Irene McCormack

“This is a time to remind ourselves that when we give ourselves to the Mission of God we never know what is being asked of us, hoping and trusting in God’s grace to be aware of what God wants. It asks us to reflect on our own call.”

These words are those of Sister Margaret Malady, in reflecting on the 20th Anniversary of Irene McCormack’s death. Margaret is the Regional Leader of the Sisters in Peru.  Similarly, Sister Pauline Morgan the Provincial Leader in Western Australia, the Province from which Irene left to go to Peru, said, “This anniversary reminds us that we don’t know what will be asked of us and we don’t know what we are capable of until the moment comes. It encourages us to act with courage in our ordinary everyday lives. We don’t know when the ordinary moment will become the extraordinary moment. It is a timely reminder also to value, appreciate and recognise the gift the people are who we minister with – our companions.”

Sister Margaret who has been in Peru since the mid 1990s said that “We came to Peru to be and live amongst the people. Irene did just that and died with there alongside other community members.  We remember her on her anniversary like we remember each of our Sisters who have gone before us – we remember their example – their life is worth remembering.”

“Of course, Irene’s death is a challenge to us. Her brother was to have said on one occasion ‘May her death not be in vain’ – we would say the same.”

In El Pacifico and Tarma, two places where the Sisters minister in Peru, the people take time for reflection on Irene’s anniversary and dedicate their prayer for Peace – Peace instead of a world of violence. The poor people still suffer the effects of corruption and injustice. Sister Margaret said that at this time too “it is a time to remember the work of the Commission for Truth and Reconciliation (CVR)  – a first step towards a country without injustice. A time to remember the people who suffered loss of family through the violence – a way of honouring and never forgetting them and what happened."

The Commission for Truth and Reconciliation (CVR) was set up in 2001 with a mandate to establish the circumstances surrounding the human rights abuses and violations committed between May 1980 and November 2000 by Shining Path and the MRTA as well as by the Peruvian State.