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 It was indeed a special day for Alma Arce, one for which she had been preparing for almost two years while in discernment and initial formation in the Motherhouse at Nayarit. During the Mass, Alma was ritually received into the Congregation of Hermanas Evangelizadoras Eucaristicas de los Pobres. She received the symbols of the Religious Congregation in the presence of family and friends, and blessing messages from the Foundress of the Congregation, from the Bishop of Nayarit and from our Bishop Gerald Barnes. 

 Sister Alma Arce is a native of Lake Arrowhead. Her parents happily shared a collage of Alma’s journey in the faith from her baptism, ongoing religious formation in family and parish, participation in the youth program, attending World Youth Day, and volunteering as a catechist in her parish. Her vocation journey and her spiritual and educational formation will continue in the Novitiate in Mexico for the next two years. 

 Who are the EEP Sisters? They are a Congregation founded in 1976 in Tepic Nayarit, Mexico to evangelize and serve the poor. Sister Maria de la Luz Ibarra Suarez, assistant to the Foundress, was one of the Sisters present at Our Lady of the Lake on Aug. 18. In 2005, aware of their ministry in Los Angeles, Bishop Barnes invited four EEP Sisters to Diocese of San Bernardino to minister to the Hispanic community in six parishes in the High Desert Vicariate. Since then, Sisters Maria deLourdes, Maria Elena and Maria Eva, as well as Sisters Consuela, Margarita and Aidee, have been zealously serving these communities in the formation of Hispanic leaders, retreat ministry, religious activities at vicariate level and formation of young adults, all in accord with the diocesan Ministry Formation Institute (MFI). Many Small Faith Communities have been formed and remain vibrant in the faith. Sister Maria del Rosario is Coordinator of Detention Ministry and the ministry of Restorative Justice in the High Desert. The Sisters delight in their ministry which brings hope and the fullness of life to many. They hope that Sr. Alma will return to the U.S. to join them in ministry when she has completed her Novitiate and is a professed religious. We all hope so and wish her God’s blessings as she continues to respond to God’s call.

Sister Mary Frances Coleman is the director of the diocesan Office of Consecrated Life.