December 2, 2019 

Dear friends of Loretto and La Bermuda, 

Our 30th year of gathering on behalf of our “twinned community” in El Salvador was memorable in many ways. 

The staff at Da Vinci gave us their usual good service and fine food. Fr Ron Mahon travelled once again from Florida to Toronto to preside at the Eucharist as he has done for most of the 30 years. Elena Tulio prepared the liturgy and provided the music as she has done for the past few years. Donors supplied wonderful prizes for the raffles and silent auction and the lovely flowers for the tables. Volunteers scurried in the early morning to arrange the prizes and later for the sale of tickets and the awarding of the prizes. (It is such a joy to see the fac- es of the winners, especially the children.) Supporters who could not join us sent very gener- ous donations and many who did come added donations to the price they paid for their tick- ets. Maria Griffin reminded us of the beginnings, 30 years ago, when Vance responded to my slide presentation after my first visit to La Bermuda with the words “we have to do something to help these people”. That was the birth of the Loretto/La Bermuda Brunch and attendance grew from about 85 people in the first year to 346 people this year. 

We did not reach the sum of $30,000.00 but we came within about $1500.00 of it, the most by far that we have ever raised. So thank you to all of you who were so very generous. 

Sustainability and commitment for the long term are often lacking in efforts to assist the less fortunate. No one can say that about the Loretto/La Bermuda project. It is easy, they say, to simply write a cheque and feel good about helping but that too has not been the case here. For 30 years you have gathered at Da Vinci to pray for the people of La Bermuda and to learn how their lives have been changing making it a true “people to people” relationship, a rela- tionship of solidarity in the true sense of the word. 

The people of La Bermuda have told us since the beginning how important it has been and is for them to know that they are not alone. Oppressive regimes robbed them of their liberty but not of their love for peace, justice and freedom. For them to know that we, in Canada, support them in their quest for these things gives them the hope and the courage to continue the struggle. Their parting words after each visit have always been the same, “do not forget us”. 

I left Da Vinci that Sunday with hope that in spite of not continuing the support the way we have done we may come up with another way to maintain it. Some members of the Abbey graduation of 1985 expressed a desire to meet in the coming year and devise a plan to do “something easier with same results”. Others expressed the same interest. Many said “keep me on your mailing list”. 

Who knows what will come of this but, never fear, I will be sure to let you know how you can help us carry on for another 30 years. 

In Christ, 

Sr Evanne Hunter IBVM and Maria Griffin