A first report was received February 27 from Kim King, RSCJ, a member of the US Province, who is serving in the northern sector of Valparaiso, in Viña del Mar, Chile’s fourth largest city. Five other Religious of the Sacred Heart are in community there, working in a Sacred Heart school and youth ministry. Sister King described the earthquake experience as "wild" and said physical damage was minimal there - but that prayers are needed for all those missing…
The following day Sister King reported that the RSCJ in Concepción are "okay so far as we know" and that the Mass was a welcome event, she said: "People sang just a little bit louder today, the homily was on the Psalm The Lord is my Light and my Salvation." And she thanked everyone for all the prayers and said she has "a feeling (she) will be reflecting on this international experience for some time to come."
The Society of the Sacred Heart has been active in Chile since 1854. Approximately sixty RSCJ are currently engaged in education, youth ministry, and pastoral work in connection with schools, social services centers, parishes, and retirement communities.
Two provide pastoral/social work in Antofagosta, a port city about 700 miles north of Santiago with an urban population of 281,155 and a municipal population of 296,905. Four RSCJ work in the Sacred Heart school in Concepción and also do pastoral and youth work in the parish. Thirty-five RSCJ live and work in Santiago, Chile's capital and largest city. They are engaged in education and social services as well as operation of the provincial house, a novitiate, and a retirement community. In Villa Alemana, a central Chile city inland from Valparaiso, fourteen RSCJ provide administration and eldercare services.
Based on a report March 1 from Sofía Baranda, RSCJ, the RSCJ living in Chile are generally okay - but most experienced significant property damage and two lost their uncle. Many RSCJ are working to help other people locate missing family members – they say communication is difficult but possible.
And RSCJ around the world are following news of the situation closely and praying for the people of Chile with compassionate hearts!