On December 28, 1928 at the initiative of Bishop Victor Basilio Plantier Lantardt, the International Association of Charity in the city of San Miguel was established in the Hospital San Juan de Dios. The group was composed of twenty-one women and Sister María Fonsalla, DC (superior of the local community of the Daughters at the hospital).
The group was founded on the inspiration of Saint Vincent de Paul, the apostle of charity. Its objective was to provide material and spiritual assistance to the poor, the infirm and the elderly.
The first leadership team was composed of María Loucel de Canessa (president), Fily de Peña (secretary), Sara Sutter (first councilor), Mercedes Rosales (second concilor), Sister María Fonsalla, DC (treasurer) and Bishop Plantier (spiritual advisor). Thus, was the beginning of our group.
In 1931, Bishop, together with the women of this Association, established the first house for the poor which was later converted into a home for the elderly and the indigent. This house was donated by the government and in 1946 became the Mesón de Caridad (the House of Charity). In 1932 the group obtained legal status and the following years its Statutes were reformed.
As a result of the donation of the land by Amelia Hartman de Funes (1940), the construction of the current San Antonio Asylum was begun. In January 1946, the Asylum was officially opened with 10 elderly women and 8 elderly men. The asylum was administered by Sister Cecilia Mora, DC. This work has served as a stimulus for on-going fundraising activities and countless other efforts at the national and local level in order to support the aforementioned institution.
Through their dedication and their spirit of charity, Bishop Plantier and the members of this Association established many other works, including: the First House of the Poor, the Asylum San Vicente de Paul, Mesón de Caridad, Asilo San Antonio (1946), Amparo de la Joven (1951), Santa Sofía School (1952), San Camilo and San Camilito Hospital for adults and children afflicted with tuberculosis, Dr. Federico Rosales Nursery School (1957), La Casa de La Misericordia Víctor Batarsé (1961), and Jesus Child School of Prague (1962).
At the present time the various works continue to be administered by the Association and the Daughters of Charity (thus fulfilling the dream of Bishop Plantier). Those works are: Asylum San Antonio which lodges 57 elderly people, The House of Mercy with 18 elderly women who need special care, and Dr. Federico Rosales Nursery with 65 children (these various institutions are staffed by some thirty-six individuals).
Translated: Charles T. Plock, CM
Eastern Province, USA