Sisters reported safe after Chile earthquake

DAYTON — The Sisters of the Precious Blood are grateful to report that the sisters in Chile are safe following the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked the South American nation Feb. 27. Also unharmed are Missionaries of the Precious Blood and a native Chilean congregation of Precious Blood Sisters.

Shortly after the temblor rocked Chile, the sisters managed to make a cell phone call and to e-mail the congregation’s leadership to say they are safe.

The five sisters — two native Chileans and three Americans — live and work in two communities near Santiago, Cerro Navia and Colombia. The sisters reported some toppled bookcases and broken items, but no major damage. At Cerro Navia the outside walls surrounding the parish compound collapsed.

The three American sisters are all Ohio natives and longtime missioners in Chile, which is a vicariate, or geographic grouping, that is part of the Dayton-based congregation. Sister Carmelita Monnin is from Russia (Shelby County). Sister Dorothy Schmitmeyer is from Minster (Auglaize County). Sister Maria Luisa Miller hails from Ottoville in Putnam County, in the Toledo Diocese.

The two Chilean sisters are Sister Noemi Flores and Sister Rita Manriquez.

Sister Florence Seifert, CPPS president, said that after they got word from the sisters in Chile, the leadership team notified the families of the U.S. sisters that they were all safe, since direct communication from Chile by phone or e-mail was erratic due to damage to the country’s infrastructure.

The Missionaries of the Precious Blood (priests and brothers), whose Cincinnati province is also based in Dayton, have 14 members serving in Chile, some American and others Chilean or from other South American nations. Father Angelo Anthony, the Missionaries’ provincial, reported Feb. 28 that he received a message from Father Donald Theiman at their central house in Santiago, saying that their members also were unharmed. There was no word yet about property damage at their various parishes and institutions.

The native Chilean congregation of Precious Blood Sisters reported damage to their Precious Blood church, but all of those sisters are safe also.

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