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Sister Mary Rosalima (Martha Emma OTERO TORRES)

List of Deceased Sisters

Date of Death 01/03/2020

Sister Mary Rosalima OTERO,  smsm

August 22nd, 1934 – March 1st, 2020


SMSM SistersMARTA EMMA OTERO TORRES was the very much-loved lastborn child of a family of four in Magdalena del Mar, Lima Peru on the 22nd of August 1934. As a young woman she formed an active part of the Christian youth group of the Marist Fathers parish, Sta Rosa of Callao.  Another member of that same group was the future Marist Bishop Luis Sebastiani.

Marta was drawn to the Marist Spirituality and decided to enter the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary. She and another missionary aspirant Maria Chinza travelled to Boston and entered the Postulate in Lowell, Massachusetts on the 11th of February 1959.  They were the first of the Peruvian women to enter the Congregation.

Sister made her first vows in Bedford, Massachusetts, on Mary´s feast of the Assumption of 1961 with the religious name of Sister Mary Rosalima, a name she retained all her religious life.

Sr Rosalima remained in the Boston communities of Framingham, Lowell, Bedford and Boston, where she completed her secondary education through correspondence courses and assisted with community services. She was missioned to Peru, and returned to Lima on 20th December 1964, where she joined the SMSM community in the Marist Brothers School in Paz Soldan, Callao to teach catechetics for a year.  She then went to the Santa Maria community in San Isidro in 1965 to study at Regina Mundi and also to do secretarial work. She remained there until 1970.

As a creative artistic person Sr Rosalima studied Art and Crafts and excelled in sewing, at the same time continuing with catechetics and secretarial work. During these years between 1967 and 1970 sister studied at the Ministry of Public Education doing industrial design, metal work, dressmaking and sewing.  These are important skills needed to work with a vulnerable population of women and children and families who live in impoverished margins of cities and non-urban areas. A population that needs to learn a skill to be able to earn and support others.

With these skills she was missioned in May 1970 to the Peruvian Amazon jungle community in Intuto for six years where she loved the pastoral work among the women of the area. Visits to the different villages were by launch on one of the widest rivers in the world, the Marañon passing into the river Tigre.  In this area oil companies were drilling which led to the social difficulties that arise in such areas.

In 1976 Sister was invited to join the LTSR group in Sydney Australia. She later visited some of the smsm communities in Fiji and Samoa on her return to Peru. She was a participant in the meeting in Rome for the sisters responsible for initial formation in 1977 after which she returned to Lima to the then Provincial House where she was the superior of the community.  Later, in 1980 she was assigned to the Formation house in Las Flores again as superior for six years.  As a member of this community her commitment to Pastoral work and women´s groups continued particularly in an area of Lima which was on the margin of the city and at the base of the San Cristobal hill.

In 1986 she was missioned to the city of Monteria, Colombia, forming part of a community which was responding to the spiritual and human development needs of a population displaced and traumatized by the constant violence in that country.  Sister had already lived a few months in Colombia previously when she attended the Pastoral Institute established by the Conference of Latin-American bishops in Medellin where she had studied in a Pastoral and liturgical program in 1973.

Sister Rosalima spent the last years of her life in two communities.  She shared a rather rustic rented house with Sr Ana Marzolo in Canto Chico of San Juan de Lurigancho (one of the biggest populated areas of Lima) for many years. Sister was very consistent in her ongoing formation; enabling her to be of real service to the people she ministered to. She went on to study Counseling and Spiritual growth, Personality and Human Relations, Missiology, Catechetics and, with the Ministry of Work, learned how to teach marketing and sales for those who took her classes. She always amazed those who lived with her: how current she was with the news, political situation and all communications from an actively Pastoral church in Latin America.

Her final home was again in Maranga where she participated in two parishes. On certain days she attended the Cristo Sacerdote Parish with the ministry of the sick and infirm, visiting the ill in their homes and taking communion to them each Friday. She participated in the Diocesan Promoters of Health conferences and meetings once a month.

 Her daily Eucharist was available at the other Parish, Jesus Redentor, where regardless of the weather conditions she would walk the 25 minutes to the church.  It is in this parish that she animated prayer and the study of the Bible.  There was one particular group formed for the Lord of Divine Mercy to which she was particularly devoted and had in her own room a very large painting of Señor de la Divina Misericordia.

Rosalima invited groups to the house for some times of prayer and reflection.  She was particularly keen to share the Marist spirituality whenever there was the opportunity and gave talks to groups of young people who visited.

In her later years she suffered from non-insulin dependent diabetes and was very attentive to the need to keep active physically and mentally.  Being naturally artistic she loved to beautify her surroundings wherever she was, and this included normal housework as well doing what she could do in the garden. She was dedicated to prayer and work.

She was a model of contemplation for those who shared life with her in community, taking the opportunity to deepen her relationship with God and others.  A naturally introverted and peaceful person she was a serene presence for many people over the years.  Her keen sense of humor was pithy when one least expected it, but never unkind.

She showed herself extremely persistent in drawing out persons suffering from depression and sadness. Like the Good Shepherd she would keep knocking on the door until the person was able to be included in a community of love and care.

Rosalima died quite suddenly on Sunday morning, the 1st of March at 10.15am at our house in Maranga.  She had awakened with a headache and chest pain and after a brief period passed into eternal life.  Her expression at death was as during life, very peacefully serene. Sister Rosalima you are at last in the embrace of your own God of Love and Divine Mercy.

The parish of San Miguel Archangel had a special room for the wake from Sunday to Tuesday morning.  The whole Marist family present in Lima: Fathers, Brothers and Lay Marists was present during this time and accompanied us to the Cemetery “Parque de Recuerdos” in Ventanilla some 25 minutes by car from Maranga.  Sister was also accompanied by the members of the parishes where she had ministered over the years.

Rosalima´s Mass and final prayers on the morning of the 3rd of March were celebrated by her friend of 70 years, the Marist Emeritus Bishop Luis Sebastiani.  Father Miguel, Orlando and Gilberto also participated in the prayers over the coffin.

Her memory lives in the hearts of all of us who shared our lives and ministries with her.

Margaret Walsh smsm