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Reflections from Venezuela

 Our Border Brothers & Sisters

Yolanda (Yoli) Arribasplata is a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet and lives in Lima-Peru. She serves to support different groups of people. She focuses on helping vulnerable, children, youth and adults who are sick and impoverished, as well as migrants from various countries. She also promotes mental health from her knowledge of psychology.

Immigration Experience of the Quero-Urdaneta Family

by Yolanda (Yoli) Arrbasplata, CSJ

Sister Yolanda (Yoli) Arribasplata

In their country of Venezuela, the Quero-Urdaneta family lived a time of extreme poverty. “We had absolutely nothing to eat. My children cried from hunger. I used salt instead of sugar for my children’s breakfast.” Given this poverty and the social problems in Venezuela, this family decided to migrate to Peru in 2016.   

Mrs. Urdaneta shared: “To migrate to Peru was very difficult and it was dangerous on the roads.” I was very sad to leave my daughters in Venezuela. They wrote saying: “Mamá, please return home; we won’t ask you for food.”   

Arriving in Lima, Mrs. Urdaneta relates how she lived: “I lived on a hill in San Juan de Lurigancho; my mattress was a sheet. I slept in the street. I didn’t have anything to eat or any work.  =I was very afraid at night.  And, I didn’t realize that when I left Venezuela, I was pregnant! This situation complicated my life even more.” 

After a year, in 2017, the daughters of Mrs. Urdaneta arrived in Lima with their grandmother. The most difficult for them at that time, she said, was to support the family because they didn’t have a space to live or food to eat. Also, confronting the death of one of her brothers was very sad because she couldn’t say goodbye or travel to Venezuela for the burial.  

With the family being in Lima, it was difficult not only to survive but also to enter the educational system.  It was at this time that Mrs. Urdaneta relates: “I met the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. They helped my daughters with their after-school program. Having my daughters with the sisters, I could leave to work.  Then the COVID-19 arrived. That worsened our situation, but, thanks be to God, the Sisters of St. Joseph helped us with food, cleaning products, and virtual workshops for my daughters. Finding the sisters was finding such a good family!” 

Our Border Brothers and Sisters series logo

In line with our commitment to defend the rights of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, our new blog series “Our Border Brothers and Sisters,” we present the stories that our sisters and associates who have had border experiences would like to share. We are grateful to them for their generosity. It is our hope that these stories will open us to seeing and understanding our brothers and sisters in greater depth because, as Colum McCann once said: “You can’t hate someone when you know their story.”

Read more about our commitment to migrants

Category: Reflections, Stories

1 thought on “Reflections from Venezuela”

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    I was under the watchful eyes of these good Sisters from 1962 – 1970/at St Ferdinand School in San Fernando, CA, just north of downtown Los Angeles….Because of the Sisters, I was part of a small group of boys from the School who who among the first lay people to accepted as Lectors for Daily Mass…Because of the Sisters, I am still part of this community and after 56 years, , Lord still uses me in ministry.. I must mention my principal, Sr Joanne Clare Gallagher…We kept in contact a little after she left San Fernando, and she even called once or twice…Please, can you help me find her…She is responsible, in good part, for what manner of Christian gentleman may have become..Thank become, and can you use another CSJ.Associate?? The Lord be with you..

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The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet are a congregation of Catholic sisters. We, and those who share our charism and mission, are motivated in all things by our profound love of God and our dear neighbors. We seek to build communities and bridge divides between people. Since our first sisters gathered in 1650, our members have been called to “do all things of which women are capable.” The first sisters of our congregation arrived in St. Louis, Missouri in 1836, and we now have additional locations in St. Paul, Albany, Los Angeles, Hawaii, Japan and Peru. Today, we commit to respond boldly to injustice and dare to be prophetic.


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