On November 20, 2022, was celebrated the inauguration of “Del Carmen Plaza in honour of the Pallottines” for their mission work in Benque Viejo del Carmen. The following sisters journeyed to Benque del Carmen: Srs. Josefina Alamilla, Consuelo Burgos, Catarina Tush, Clara Teul and candidate Nadege Blanc along with our driver Garibaldo Teul.
It was indeed a memorable occasion, as the people of Benque expressed their sincere gratitude towards the Pallottine Sisters in Belize. We were humbled by the sacrifice made by our four German pioneer sisters namely: Srs. Franziska Zabel (age 33), Dominica Senn (age 32) – who would head the mission in Benque Viejo, Alacoque Radecker (age 34), and Priska Hess (age 24). They were true missionaries at heart despite of the obstacles and challenges encountered.
Our history will no longer remain in the history books only but will be visible to all young and old through the monument. We thank David Ruiz for being so passionate in the history and work of our sisters along with the committee members.
2 photos by Garibaldo Teul, show David Ruiz and the Pallottine Sisters Sr. Catarina Tush, Sr. Clara Teul, Sr. Josefina Alamillia and Sr. Consuelo Burgos.
The message on the monument reads:
SISTER DOMINICA & PUPIL
THE MONUMENT OF SR. DOMINICA SENN,
FIRST PALLOTTINE SUPERIOR IN BENQUE VIEJO DEL CARMEN –
FOUNDING HOME OF THE PALLOTTINI, WAS SCULPTED BY
SEBASTIÁN BARRIENTOS DEL BOSQUE (GUATEMALA, 2019)
TO COMMEMORATE THE CENTENNIAL OF THE
PALLOTTINE SISTERS IN BELIZE (1913-2013).
THE MONUMENT HONOURS THE DEDICATED SERVICE
IN EDUCATION BY THE PALLOTTINE SISTERS
AND ALL PUPIL-TEACHERS THROUGHOUT BELIZE.
“DEL CARMEN PLAZA IN HONOUR OF THE PALLOTTINES” –
WAS INAUGURATED ON NOVEMBER 20, 2022.
The school of Benque in its early days
In our General Archives at Rome, we find a short life of Sr. Dominica Senn – “An Ardent Pioneer”, written after her death on 30 May 1951:
Sister Dominica will always be remembered as an ardent missionary. Already in early childhood she manifested a great desire to devote all her strength, her talents – yes, her whole life to the spread of God’s kingdom. Thus, we are not astonished to see her enter the Society of the Pallottine Missionary Sisters, whose Motherhouse is in Limburg, Germany, at an early age.
Here she used every opportunity to prepare herself well during the time spent in the novitiate for later work in the missions.
How happy she was to become a member of the little group of pioneers who sailed in the spring of 1912 to America. The four sisters went first to Stella Niagara, where the Sisters of St. Francis conducted a Normal School. A Jesuit Missionary Priest from British Honduras came to this convent to ask for teachers for his parish. Mother Leonarda, the superior of the school at Stella Niagara, referred him to our sisters. The superiors at Limburg granted the priest’s request for sisters, and dear Sister Dominica was chosen to lead the first mission band to British Honduras.
In March 1913, she sailed with three companions to the British Colony to open the first mission station of the Pallottine Missionary Sisters in Benque Viejo. Sister Dominica’s fondest dreams of missionary work were realized. As a true daughter of Vincent Pallotti, she laboured untiringly under the prudent and kind direction of Reverent A. Versavel, the superior of the Mission. There were untold opportunities to manifest her zeal to the spreading of the Kingdom of Christ. Not only did she inspire her sisters with her own devotion to the noble cause, but also taught the children of Benque Viejo the art of Christian living. She visited the sick, took care of the sacristy and the church, and laboured untiringly for the salvation of souls. Herr efforts were fruitful, and only God knows how many souls were won for Christ through her ardent zeal. She had the great joy of establishing other mission stations in British Honduras and even seeing her most ardent wish come true, her wish of having a novitiate for the training of missionary sisters opened in this country.
She had, however, like all true followers of Christ, to shoulder His Cross. Ill health forced her to leave the country. For a few years she worked in the United States, animated by the same zeal for the cause of Christ that she had manifested among the Petaneros and Indians of British Honduras.
Feeling stronger again, she was allowed to return to her beloved country, where she worked with even greater zeal in the vineyards of the Master. But not for long. She took sick again and was recalled to the States for a physical check-up. A second time she said good-bye to her protégées, never to return. She had contracted cancer of the lungs and had to take it easy. Although she was perfectly resigned to the holy will of God, it was a great sacrifice to give up her missionary activities. She tried to compensate for this by increased prayer, by silent suffering in union with her crucified Lord, offering these gifts to God for the conversion of souls. Where there is a will, there is a way, and love always finds an outlet to serve the Beloved; thus, sister used any chance to labour for souls.
Whenever possible she visited the sick in the hospital, prayed with the suffering and dying, supplied the patients with good literature, and had a kind and encouraging word for all, always trying to lead their thoughts upward to the things of the spirit. Sister Dominica will always be remembered for her unwavering zeal in the cause of Christ and His Holy Church. R.I.P.
Two photos from the archives of the US Province of the Pallottine Sisters