Secular Franciscan Order

Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis

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National Council of Chile



                                                                                              Osorno, April 14th, 2015


Dear Brothers Tibor and Attilio, to you, Peace and Good,


I thank you for your letter and for your attention. It is very nice to know that we have brothers, on the other side of the world, who are concerned about us when we are confronted with difficult moments. Many thanks! Thanks for living the fraternity at distance !

The flooding has been quite violent, an enormous quantity of water has fallen with great on the Andes, it carried away many solid debris and, even more seriously, the sediments of the liquid waste from the mines containing chemical products : the sewage networks have exploded into inhabited zones and were mixed with the mud from the flooding. At this moment, the environment is truly unbearable for those who live there or who work there. And if this is not sufficient, an invasion of rats has added to this mess.

It is in the Atacama region that the situation is the most serious, between the Andes and the sea. In the city of Copiacó, there is a fraternity where two sisters have lost everything. They only have the clothing that they were wearing. So many persons are still not able to leave

their homes because the doors are blocked by the million tons of mud still to be removed. The Conventual brothers have opened their couvent to accomodate the persons who have lost everything and, according to one sister who told me yesterday, 85 person are being accomodated at the couvent.

It is very important to clarify precisely the ecological and environmental conditions. We are a long and narrow country: to the East, are the Andes and to the West the sea. The many watersheds and seasonal melting of the glaciers bring about an increase in the volume of water in the rivers. The mining exploration, conducted by an important entreprise in the area, has lead to the opening of mines dedicated to the extraction of the gold and silver present in the Atacama region, and the mining activity has brought about the destruction of a large part of the eternal snows. Add to this the consequences of climatic change while bringing rain on the Andes instead of snow, have caused the catastrophe that is hitting us now.

We are hoping that these events could awaken the consciences, and that the authorities will not give any more permits, nor the autorisations to open new mines or to build houses in the dangerous zones.

Now for us, the theme of ecology and the defense of the environment have become our priority, so that we will not have to overcome the worse catastrophes like those we are living presently.

Accompanied by our Seraphic father Francis, with the intercession of our Lady the Virgin Mary and with the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, we send you all our affection.


At your entire disposal



Soeur Catalina Valenzuela

National Minister OFS - Chile