The 8.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked Chile Saturday, Feb. 27, damaged the residences of several local Sisters of Mercy who are doing mission work in the country, but no sisters were injured in the quake, according to Mercy Sister Janet Korn, who was communicating with a Chilean-based sister by e-mail today.
The Associated Press is reporting that the quake is believe to have killed more than 700 people and damaged more than 500,000 homes.
"The aftershocks were awful," Sister Korn said she was told.
The quake’s damage also caused the postponement of a Rochester memorial Mass for Mercy Sister Janet Caulfield, who had served for more than 40 years as a missionary in Santiago, Chile. Sister Caulfield died Feb. 21 in Santiago, and her local memorial Mass is being moved from March 4 to March 8.
Friends of Sister Caulfield may call from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, March 7, at the Mercy Center, 1437 Blossom Road, Brighton, where a vigil service will follow at 7 p.m. Bishop Matthew H. Clark will celebrate Sister Caulfield’s memorial Mass at 10:30 a.m. Monday, March 8, at the Mercy Center. Interment will be in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Sisters of Mercy Mission Fund.
Sister Korn said Mercy Sisters in Chile left a message Saturday morning for their Rochester counterparts alerting them that the quake had happened, but that all of the 11 Sisters of Mercy living in Chile were unharmed. Five sisters in Chile hail from the Diocese of Rochester, said Sister Korn, who was one of the founders of the Chilean mission.
One badly damaged residence in Santiago housed two sisters of Mercy who had been planning to move prior to the quake, Sister Korn said.
"Now the situation is desperate," she said.
Catholic Relief Services, which is the international humanitarian relief and development agency of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is accepting donations to support the relief efforts of the local Catholic Church through Caritas Chile, the social-service arm of the Catholic Church in Chile.
To donate to CRS, visit www.crs.org, call 1-800-736-3467 or mail a check to: Catholic Relief Services, PO Box 17090, Baltimore, MD 21203-7090.