District of Chile
The District of Chile is the longest-running mission still overseen by the United States Province. Three Holy Cross Religious arrived in Santiago, Chile, on March 1, 1943, at the invitation of the Archbishop to administer Saint George’s College. Fathers Havey, Send and Dougherty believed they were going to do university work. Little did they know that “college” in this context meant a school of first through 12th graders.
Today Saint George’s College serves 2,650 students. Its history is rich and is closely tied with the history of Chile, including the 1970s when the school was taken over by the military government and Holy Cross was ousted. The Congregation returned to the school in 1986. Strong faith formation and service have been a hallmark of Saint George’s. Over the decades, the college has formed many influential leaders in Chilean society. Also Holy Cross’ first Chilean vocation, Fr. Jorge Canepa, was a 1946 graduate of the school.
The other school administered by the District is Colegio Nuestra Señora de Andacollo, located in the older sector of Central Santiago. The Congregation took responsibility for the school in the 1970s, after its expulsion from Saint George’s. The student body, numbering 1,100, is made up primarily of children from working-class families. With improvements to the physical plant and the strong Holy Cross commitment, the school has been able to reach new heights academically.
From the beginning, our mission of Chile has included parishes and social service. Parishes include Parroquia San Roque (San Roque Parish) in the sector of Peñalolén of Santiago, Parroquia Nuestra Señora de Andacollo (Our Lady of Andacollo Parish), in the same area as the school; and Parroquia Nuestra Señora de la Merced (Our Lady of Mercy Parish) in Calle Larga, a rural community northeast of Santiago. The parishes are known for their lay formation, youth ministry and social justice work with the poor and marginalized.
Holy Cross Religious and lay collaborators also provide outreach to abandoned and abused children in Santiago through Fundación Moreaou, commonly known as Fundamor. Children ages 4 to 18 can live and be protected at Fundamor – many spending their entire lives here. Holy Cross also runs prevention programs for the children of Peñalolen and Andcollo (Santiago, city center), serving about 130 children. The residential and prevention programs have been recognized locally and nationally for the quality of care and professional work assisting these children.
In all its apostolates, a key priority of the District is working closely with its lay colleagues and providing formation for them, including a day retreat on Holy Cross Spirituality, which in years past has seen more than 200 in attendance. They are an integral part of the Holy Cross family and mission in Chile.
Family Rosary Intl., also in Santiago, works to strengthen Chilean families through school and parish ministry programs and Rosary distribution.
As part of our mission of serving the Catholics of Chile and supporting the growth of the Universal Church, we also provide a strong vocation program for native Chilean men seeking to join Holy Cross. In March 2003, the first of the Congregation´s five new houses for international formation was established, with young men from Chile, Perú, Haïti and Brazil.