Porte Aperte

May 23 2021 | by

THE ROSA Mistica College, Montevideo, Uruguay was opened in 1956 by the Congregation of the Sisters of Providence after seeking guidance from the local people as to what was really necessary to combat delinquency in the Conciliacion and Colon neighbourhoods. “It started first with a single class and then, as the groups grew, other classes were added, up to the sixth grade in 1964,” explains Sister Carla Cardozo, responsible for the proposed project. “This service allowed us to reach children and young people, offering them not only a school education, but also a human and Christian education in a totally secular country.” In the last five years, the mission has started to renovate and redevelop the property. But, despite the best efforts of the Congregation to mobilise both local and international solidarity, it had proved impossible to achieve all the objectives imposed by local regulations.


Relentless commitment


“The presence of our missionary Sisters in Uruguay dates back to 1929,” explains Sister Domitilla Nosella, from the Sisters in Rome. “Since then, we have shown relentless commitment to the most marginalised sections of the community in the neighbourhood, giving great attention to the educational needs of children and young people.” In fact, the Sisters of Providence were founded from just such a need in 1837, when an orphanage was inaugurated in Udine, Italy, and nine teachers dedicated themselves totally to the education of the poorest children in the city. Operating now in many countries around the world, the Sisters work on behalf of the poorest sections of society – especially children living in situations of serious economic and social difficulty, young women, and abandoned girls. They also run health dispensaries, take care of AIDS and HIV-positive people, patients with leprosy, undernourished children, and offer medical assistance to remote villages in poor and forgotten corners of the world.


€26,000 granted


The Sisters named the project Porte Aperte (Open Doors) with the general objective of promoting the social inclusion of minors at risk of delinquency due to their socio-economic and/or family status. In particular, it would create a multipurpose sports space within the courtyard of the school, which would also satisfy the regulatory authorities. The works would cost €41,000, and after local contributions of €15,000, the requested support from St. Anthony’s Charities was €26,000. This was granted, to be paid in two instalments.

The first instalment was received at the end of April 2020, and work began on May 9 in three phases. First, part of a wall was demolished to create access to the site and a reinforced metal gate installed. This would become the principal access to the sports space. Second, an old building was demolished and the resulting rubble used to help flatten and level the ground. Machinery was hired for six days to complete this. Finally, work began on laying the surface on June 1.

The second instalment was received shortly afterwards, and work began on the final three phases. The first job was to lay the sports space floor. This consisted of a ten-centimetre layer of reinforced concrete containing synthetic macrofibres built to withstand the tensile stresses to which it would be subjected. A perimeter fence was then built from wooden poles, stainless steel pipes and synthetic wire mesh. Finally, the new flooring was marked with the dimensions of the fields of various sports, and painted in a colour scheme approved by the nuns. “When the painting started, it was raining and the humidity was high,” says Sister Carla. “This delayed work as the paint started peeling, so we waited for the weather to improve. Due to the pandemic, the price of materials and manpower also increased, so we exceeded our budget, but we received donations locally and from the Congregation.” The work was completed in November 2020.


Great joy


“The initial beneficiaries of the programme are about 40 boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 13,” explains Sister Carla. “But the teenagers will become missionaries, inviting other teenagers to sporting events. Families will also be able to play games with their children, promoting family life.”

“When my three children arrived with the news that a sports field would be built at the school, a project longed for not just by them, but by all the students and teachers of the school, we received the news with great joy,” writes one parent. “But we were full of doubts as to how long it would take for the construction. Then, one day, we saw that the work had commenced and the construction became real. We learned that a donation full of love had been received. Everything that adds to this institution makes us grow with pride, and we’re happy to be part of the family of this great school. Thank you for the support you have given through this sports field. It has, without a doubt, brought with it the dream goal that the whole school dreamed of making a reality!”


Notable role


“We always wanted to offer the children a safe place so they could participate in sports and recreational activities, and we’ve only been able to do that with your help,” say representatives from the Rosa Mistica College. “Not only will the children from the school benefit, but also people who participate in our ministry: children, adolescents, and the young people of our deprived neighbourhood.”

“I want to express my most sincere gratitude for the generous contributions from St. Anthony’s Charities and the readers of the Messenger of Saint Anthony,” concludes Sister Matilda Sociu, Provincial Superior in Bolivia, Argentina and Uruguay. “This will have a notable role in helping these children in scholastic sports. Your support continues our commitment to reach out to provide help where it’s needed most. Thank you again for your generosity. We ask the Lord, the source of every gift, to continue blessing your mission of charity in favour of those most in need. May Mary, Rosa Mistica, Mother of Providence, guide and accompany you. In Christ Jesus.”


Updated on May 23 2021