Sister Peggy, a true fighter for human rights, for equality and for the culture of Hispanic communities.
A LIGHT IN HISPANIC MINISTRY
Our Sister Peggy Bonnot, one of the founders of El Puente Hispanic Ministry, was born in Jefferson City. She studied in parochial Schools and when she was very young she realized that she wanted to be like the Sisters that she knew. Perhaps that was her first motivation to join the Congregation, and throughout her course of studies, she had the opportunity to know and to listen to vocational testimonies from many Sisters and Priests.
“I suppose that at that time I started praying and I simply asked God to send me a signal to let me know what He wanted”, said Sister Peggy, as people know her.
Sister Peggy has always been a defender of the immigrants. She, like many other people, expresses her opposition to any legislation that does not have a wider panorama and that minimizes the actions that could improve the situation of legal immigrants who are trying to build up their life.
“I had friends who entered religious life; I became interested and I followed that path”, she said. “When I entered the convent, I felt great”.
On August 15, Sister Peggy will celebrate her 51st anniversary as a Sister of Charity of the Incarnate Word.
Sister Peggy attended the University of the Incarnate Word. Her major was elementary education in English and in Spanish. She remembers that in her first Spanish class as a College Student, she developed an interest in Hispanic cultures, and her interest became stronger through her contact with the Hispanic Sisters.
“I always thought that they had a beautiful culture. In many aspects, they are very friendly people. There is a lot of creativity in the culture and they are very free people. They love to sing, they are artists and they are great dancers. They also have a very strong family life. They are very loyal to the members of the family”, said Sister Peggy.
She received her Master’s Degree in Pre-School Education, with a major in Reading, at the University of
Missouri, at St. Louis. Later, she was a teacher in Missouri and Texas, and she also worked in Pastoral Ministry in California, Missouri. When she returned to her home town, Peggy became aware of the growing needs of the Hispanic community. In 1999, she and two other friends, who are also Sisters, decided to respond to these needs and to form an organization that became known as El Puente.
“The Hispanic community was growing at that time and its members really wanted to preserve their patrimony, which included their faith. They were requesting to have the Mass in Spanish. And through the people who attended these masses, the Sisters became aware of other needs. It was a young population and most of them had small children”, she explained.
In El Puente, she and other Sisters responded to the medical needs of the people. They often acted as interpreters during pre-natal medical appointments and were a maternal presence in delivery rooms.
“That way, we became their grandmothers”, she says. “When they have their babies, we are often present. We are also there to bring support because many of their mothers era not able to be with them. This is an additional help for them”.
The Path Continues
During 16 years, Sister Peggy has brought opportunities and help to the most vulnerable persons in society. She has plans to continue with her mission for the rest of her life, one way or another.
“I look back and I say: ‘God is taking care of us. We must be doing something right. God wants us to continue doing what we are doing, with our doors permanently open.”
Source: News Tribune – By Brittany Ruess.
On the header: Sister Peggy Bonnot, CCVI.