This week we celebrate McCormack house’s Day of Courage. We reflect on the story of Irene McCormack’s service to the people of Huasahuasai, Peru. We remember the life and work of Irene, and the courage she displayed, and are inspired to find courage in our own lives, and to call upon the strength of God to assist others in need.
Irene McCormack was born in regional Western Australia in August 1938. After a successful career as a passionate educator in regional WA, Irene felt a vocational calling to serve God and the people of Latin America through her mission to Peru. Serving with the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, Irene worked in the small, remote town of Huasahuasi where she took up the challenge of ministering to the impoverished.
For political reasons, Communist rebels did not welcome missionaries and despite recognising the danger, Irene continued to serve the people of Huasahuasi. On the 21st of May 1991, Irene’s fears were recognised when she and five others were arrested and publicly executed by the Communist rebels. Irene’s crime in the eyes of her murderers was caring for, working with and distributing Caritas rations to the impoverished villagers
A cross has been created by the students of Prendiville Catholic College as a physical reminder of the connection we have with the village of Huasahuasi and to the story of Irene McCormack. This cross is being sent to the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart in Peru, the same mission for which Irene served and gave her life. The sisters have generously offered to carry our cross on its final journey from Peru to the regional town of Huasahuasi, Irene’s final resting place. The cross will be donated to the Iglesia San Juan Bautista (Church of St John the Baptist), the local Catholic church in Huasahuasi and will serve as a lasting connection between the Prendiville McCormack community and the people of Huasahuasi.