The presence of the SSS in Peru can be presented in the following stages:
- Foundation at Lima (1961-1972): by Canadian Fathers and Brothers. (Frs Auguste Grondin and Jean-Paul Allard and Br Léonide Bélanger). Afterwards there came Frs Jean Desjardins, Gaétan Bourbonnais, Ernest Carrier and Gérard Gauthier. The Congregation had its first house in Jirón Lampa, next to the Sanctuary of the Holy Trinity (Jirón Cuzco); this was given by Cardinal Juan Landázurri Ricketts, Archbishop of Lima, to be a shrine for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. In this period, there were endeavours to conduct the vocation apostolate: a minor seminary (in Morón - Carretera Central Km. 19) was opened with the Fathers of the Holy Apostles. Students were also received in the house of Jirón Lampa (one of them was Gilmer Torres, the author of several songs that we use in our liturgies, such as “The Prophet”).
- Foundation in Arequipa (1967-1972). This foundation was made on December 25, 1967. Brother Léonide Bélanger and Fr Gérard Gauthier arrived in the first days of January 1968. They were later joined by Fr Gaétan Bourbonnais. The community was in charge of the shrine of adoration located on Palacio Viejo Street, near the Plaza Mayor of Arequipa. Also, in this house an effort of the vocation apostolate was made. A few young people welcomed in this house were ordained as priests for the Diocese.
- Foundation in “Canto Chico”. In 1972, the directive of the Provincial Council of the Saint John the Baptist Province (Québec, Canada) was received about opening a house in poor neighbourhoods, a decision motivated by a vision of social commitment inspired by the “social” implications of the Eucharist; this was in order not to remain only with the “devotional” aspect, in order to follow more coherently the perspectives of the new Rule of Life that was being drawn up at that time. Father Jean-Paul Allard promoted this foundation in the Canto Chico sector, a district of San Juan de Lurigancho. We want to point out that this responded also to an urgent need on the part of the poor neighbourhoods that appeared in Lima, especially after the earthquake of 31 May 1971, in Huaraz, causing more than 80,000 deaths and much immigration drifting to the city of Lima. The Canto Chico house began to function also as a Novitiate house at that time.
The presence of the Congregation between the years 1972 and 1981 was basically in three communities:
- Jirón Lampa Holy Trinity – a shrine of adoration;
- Canto Chico: present in the poor neighbourhoods and novitiate;
- Arequipa: chapel of adoration near the Plaza de Armas with reception for students
- Our presence since 1981. Fr Auguste Grondin died on 20 February 1978. This motivated the decision to leave the shrine of the Trinity at the centre of Lima. The Congregation of the Missionaries of the Holy Apostles took charge of the house and shrine. Ernest Carrier died on 9 March 1974. To date (20 May 2007) he is the only Blessed Sacrament religious buried in Peru, in the Arequipa cemetery. This fact was a compelling reason to consider ending our presence in Arequipa…
Father Camille Gagnon, sss
Extract from NOTIBIP 82 - July 2022
Province Saint John XXIII