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The Light of One: The Mother Teresa of El Salvador


Continuing our daily Advent reflection series, returned missioner Beth Riehle writes about a woman whose tireless service brings love and comfort to El Salvador.


I had always wanted to go to India to work with Mother Teresa, but God had something else in mind. I was called to El Salvador where I met Argentina, The Mother Teresa of El Salvador.


Though short in stature, she, like Mother Teresa and St. Francis, has a powerful way about her that calls each of us to our deeper self. When people are in the presence of someone like Argentina, someone like Mother Teresa or St. Francis, they feel the love of the Lord radiate from their very being. Holy people like Argentina see and call forth the Christ in you.


It was in her giving that I received and learned more about my part (my mission) in the body of Christ. God became one us (Jesus) to show us a different way.


Argentina LIVES the different way as a witness to the Gospel in her daily life.

I first met Argentina at a parish council meeting in 2006, my first year on mission. She was the Leader of the Pastoral Social Outreach Ministry at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Calle Real, El Salvador.


Each Friday there was Mass and a meal for the elderly that was served at the parish. I volunteered to help serve the food and was invited to go on home-visits. In my second year of mission, I was asked to coordinate a youth group that would make home-visits. Argentina and I worked together in that ministry.

I hope that I can be fully present to others like Argentina was. I try to see the person in front of me and somehow reveal to them (through a touch, a smile, a joke, an affirmation, or a needed push or challenge) just how beautiful and precious they are.
Argentina is a living Instrument of Peace.

Beth Riehle with Argentina

Coming up tomorrow: “What Our Friends Teach Us” by Nate Mortenson!

Beth Riehle is a returned lay missioner who served in El Salvador from 2006-2009 and as the Program Director in 2010. She has recently served in ministry on the border of El Paso, TX and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

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We prepare and support lay Catholics for two-year international, one-year domestic and 1-2 week short-term mission service opportunities in solidarity with impoverished and marginalized communities across the globe.

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