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† Sr. María Bernarda BALLÓN-LANDA ARRISUEÑO sscc (Peru)


    Sr. María Bernarda, 87 years old, died on September 20, 2008 in Lima, Peru. She entered the novitiate in 1946 in Chosica, Peru, and she pronounced her perpetual vows on February 2nd, 1952 in Chosica, Peru.



On Saturday the September 20th, 2008, the day of the Virgin, our dear Bernardita went to heaven… She went to the Father, where she is surely resting in peace after her long and painful illness. She went out like a small candle… quietly and gently, full of peace and love, like her exemplary life. Until the end, helpless and extremely weak, she proclaimed the God of Peace, of Goodness and of Love that were always the center of her life.

  María del Carmen Guillermina Ballón-Landa Arrisueño, (María Bernarda), received the gift of life in Arequipa (Peru), on the15th August 1921, in a profoundly Christian family. Her family and her country marked her in a thousand and she was characterized by her artistic spirit, a dreamer, poet and at the same time rebellious, fearless and daring.
   She studied in the Sacred Hearts School in Arequipa, where she made a name for herself as a pupil who identified greatly with our Spirituality which led her to give herself to the Lord in the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts. She entered the Novitiate Chosica (Lima) and made her final vows there on the 2nd February, 1952.
   For the first years of her religious life she taught primary children in the SS.CC. School Belen. Bernardita was known for her deep prayer life, her concern and her uprightness. Perhaps because of this they saw in her a good formator and she was sent to Paris (France) for a year. On her return in 1959 she became formator for the sisters of temporary vows who were preparing for final profession, and later she became Directress of Novices. Years later in 1967 she went to Rome for the preparation of the Special General Chapter which took place in 1968 and in which she participated as the Delegate of the Province of Peru. This chapter opened up new horizons for our Congregation and had profound repercussions in Peru
   In 1969, Bernardita went to Ayaviri (Puno), to work in the Educational Institute of Rural Women. With great joy she live the Love of God in the midst of the very poor, in Morón, Chaclacayo, Ayaviri, drawing close to their lives so as to follow the humble and poor Jesus. She searched for the radicality of the Gospel and she lived poverty wholeheartedly while remaining deeply human and simple.
Throughout her life she carried out different tasks and services as Community Animator on various occasions and also on the Provincial Council, provincial archivist, provincial secretary, general archivist Rome in1986. During the eight years that she spent in Rome she organized the Archives of the Generalate of the Sisters which helped her to enjoy the internationality of the Congregation and unity with the ss.cc. brothers, a very important aspect of our Vocation and Mission in her life. On returning to Peru, in 1994, among other things she became provincial archivist, a work to which she dedicated all her experience, enthusiasm, meticulousness, and professionalism. 
   It was at this time that the illness that she had some years previously, intensified and she was hospitalized on the 5th January 2007. After several operations and without much hope, the doctors allowed her to return to the Community because there was nothing they could do… From then on our dear Bernardita could not get up. She had some moments of recuperation, but little by little it consumed her without complaining, until the Lord came to free her from her suffering and took her, without a doubt, into his kingdom. Her great heart, so identified with the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, stopped beating, leaving us the lasting memory of her great goodness.
   At her burial, the farewell was beautiful and charged with feeling, she who so loved the Congregation was accompanied by the two Generals who were in Lima at the time, many SS.CC. brothers and sisters of various countries in Latin America, gathered for the Assemblies of the Brothers and Sisters in Peru, members of the SS.CC. Secular Branch to whom she had given a few years of her life, friends and family.
   In the midst of the great sorrow that we feel because of her absence, we thank the Lord for what she has meant and means for us, we enjoyed her deep faith and the richness of her personality, her art and her innumerable ways of showing kindness... she gave us the best of what she inherited, the message full of meaning from her great heart. Rest in peace with your Lord ...!