FMS has been sending missioners to Bolivia for more than 20 years. We have a number of ministry options available in two locations in Bolivia: Cochabamba (a city of over 1 million people) and the more rural location of Carmen Pampa.
Through a partnership with local Franciscans in Cochabamba, FMS missioners engage in a wide variety of ministries and live at the Franciscan Social Center in the downtown area of Cochabamba. Here are a few examples of ministries, in which current and past missioners have engaged:
FMS is in partnership with Unidad Academica Campesina de Carmen Pampa (UAC-CP), the only institution of higher education in Bolivia’s mountainous Yungas area. Founded in 1993 by a Franciscan sister, Sr. Damon Nolan, the rural Catholic college is dedicated to making higher education available to young Bolivians with talent and ambition, but who have few economic resources. Approximately 200 students attend UAC-CP. The college gives young Bolivians the tools to become leaders in their home communities by offering curricula that address the most pressing concerns of rural communities – health, education, agriculture, veterinary science, and the environment. In the past 30 years, the college has become a vibrant catalyst for economic and social change in one of the poorest areas of Latin America.
Franciscan Mission Service missioners have served in different capacities at the college since 1998. Below are examples of different ministries in which missioners are engaged:
- Teaching English classes
- Tutoring students in a range of subjects
- Running the children’s library on campus
- Assisting with maintenance, gardening and grounds-keeping
- Caring for the college’s farm animals
- Assisting at the food co-op and preparing meals with students
- Planning retreats, leading reflections and assisting with other campus ministry activities
- Helping out with extracurricular activities including sports, art, and student groups