Sister Silvia Pacheco

Sister Silvia Pacheco

Silvia Pacheco was born January 14, 1938 in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico to Mirm.montes De Oca Oliver and Fermin Pacheco. She had three sisters: Lizbeth, Lina and Miriam; and two brothers: Fermin and Jose Luis. Silvia graduated from Colegio Teresiano High School, Merida Mexico in 1953.

She received a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Colegio Teresiano in Merida and then taught two years. Silvia met the Maryknoll Sisters in Merida through a friend. She never thought she was going to join any religious Congregation. However, on October 9, 1956 Silvia went to talk with a Maryknoll Sister friend to tell her she was interested in joining Maryknoll.  She learned that Mother Mary Joseph Rogers, Foundress of the Maryknoll Sisters, had died that very day. She considered this a very special coincidence.

Silvia entered the Maryknoll Sisters September 2, 1957 at their Center in NY. After her first profession of vows June 24, 1960 at the Center She was assigned to teach Spanish as a second language at Rogers College. She also received her B.S. in Education from Rogers College in 1964. She made Final profession June 24, 1966 in Mexico.

In 1964 Sister Silvia was assigned to Mexico where she taught principally in secondary schools in both Merida and Mexico City after which she again joined the faculty of Rogers College from 1970 to 1972. Returning to Mexico she earned her Master’s in Social Work from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. In 1979 Sister Silvia was assigned to Guatemala and adapted from life in the metropolis of Mexico City to the jungle, river trips and outdoor plumbing of the rural Peten. As a talented guitarist she enlivened liturgies and meetings in all her pastoral work as well as helping out in courses for health promoters.

In 1982 she continued pastoral work with the indigenous in another state of Guatemala, San Marcos. As a member of an inter-disciplinary team her ministry included adult education for women, preparation of religious leaders, basic training for health promoters and programs for alcoholics and their families in the context of a rural parish organized around Basic Ecclesial Communities. Later she continued to assist the health promoter program on a diocesan level.

In 2006, Sister Silvia was assigned to be the Administrator of the Maryknoll Residence in Guatemala serving Maryknollers in Central America as a meeting place, retreat house and house of warm hospitality to those coming to Guatemala City. For more than 20 years the Guatemalan people have stolen Sister Silvia’s heart and the feeling is obviously mutual when you see her in her ministry. This people with a history of years of violence continues to share a deep faith and hope for a better future and they are able to laugh and enjoy life in spite of all the experiences of violence.