Sucùa (Ecuador). On 26 May 2021, the Educating Community of the Escuela de Educación Básica Fiscomisional Mercedes Navarrete, of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of the Community of St. Dominic Savio of Sucúa, Province of the Sacred Heart (ECU), celebrated the 90th anniversary of its foundation and educational service ( 1931-2021).
The event, with the slogan “90 years Educating with the heart”, opened with the Eucharistic Celebration presided over by Monsignor Néstor Montesdeoca Becerra, Salesian of Don Bosco, Apostolic Vicar of Méndez, and concelebrated by Fr. Luciano Bellini, SDB of the Province Sacred Heart of Jesus (ECU), representing the Salesian Family.
At the celebration, characterized by a solemn festive atmosphere, the participants were the members of the Educating Community, the Community Animator, Sr. María Luisa Luzuriaga, the Director of the School, Sr. Blanca Mejia, and the FMA, the teaching, administrative and service staff, the Student Council, the Parents Committee, and some guests: the Provincial of the ECU Province, Sr. Cruz María Piña, in streaming, the Mayor of Sucùa, Eng. Enrique Delgado, Dr. Katty Delgado, District Director of Education, Miss Celeste Chica, “Queen of Canton ”of Sucùa, and the local authorities.
The Apostolic Vicar in his homily recalled FMA and lay people who gave themselves to the work of the school, such as Blessed Sister Maria Troncatti, FMA: “The Salesian charism lived, transmitted, and witnessed by you, will remain in the mind and heart of numerous children educated according to the Salesian ideal of ‘good Christians and honest citizens’. How many generations have drawn from the source of the Gospel and of the Salesian charism through the educational service you generously provided! The Word of God highlights how the origins of great enterprises are always the humblest: ‘God has chosen what is weak in the world to confuse the strong’ (1 Cor 1:27). This is what happened with this work in these 90 years. How many sisters, how many lay people have dedicated their lives and their time to evangelize by educating and to educate by evangelizing”.
The Provincial, Sr. Cruz María Piña, said in her greeting, “Celebrating an anniversary is a grateful memory of all that has been experienced and shared over time, it is contemplating how the dream of the beginning took shape. It is a wonderful opportunity to recognize and rejoice in the coherence and creative fidelity of those who have taken part in this project over the years. Today are grateful for the journey traveled with great commitment, through challenges and sacrifices, by educators who are convinced that in their humble role they collaborate with the Divine Master, the God of Life, in the formation of His sons and daughters, so that they may be fully happy. ( …) As good daughters of Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello, the Salesian religious have tried to create the educational environment typical of the Preventive System, rich in love, trust, responsibility, (…) because we are all convinced that education is the best contribution we can offer for the transformation and growth of society. (…) The Mercedes Navarrete work is possible only with the co-responsibility of those who have taken and take part in it, competently carrying out this mission, authorities, staff, teachers, parents, Salesians of Don Bosco, benefactors, and to them I express my gratitude and that of the whole Province”.
The School, initially led by Prof. Mercedes Navarrete, was inaugurated on 26 May 1931 by Monsignor Domenico Comin, SDB, missionary bishop and given the name of San Domenico di Guzman. On the death of the Professor, it takes the name of Mercedes Navarrete.
In 1942, the first FMA Missionaries arrived in Sucúa to manage the work: Sister Anna Simeone and Sister Carlotta Nieto. In 1950, thanks to the support of the settlers and missionaries, the new construction was started and in 1960 with Sister Julia Íñiguez, Maria Goretti nursery school was opened with 30 children. Between 1962 and 1963, with 78 pupils, it was transferred to the new structure.
Over the years, the School continues to expand with the construction of classrooms, laboratories, sports fields, and the school cafeteria. From 2007 to 2016, following the implementation of the structures, the first year of the elementary school and the second cycle of the nursery school opens, with ministerial agreements. Between 2016 and 2019, the monument to Don Bosco and Mary Help of Christians were restored and all the rooms and exteriors of the buildings were renovated.