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The twilight of a giant

Creation of the Institute of Our Lady of Wisdom

On March 17, 1924, the Institute of Our Lady of Wisdom was born under the direction of Mother IVES DEL SAGRADO CORAZON, a religious of French nationality, who, in collaboration with other Daughters of Wisdom, began an arduous work that quickly spread throughout Colombia and crossed national boundaries (Panama and Venezuela).

The Institute of Our Lady of Wisdom was the first in the country to implement special education for the blind and deaf with the Daughters of Wisdom (Sr. Agnes Parenteau of Canadian nationality, specializing in teaching the blind and Mother Ives of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, specializing in teaching deaf children) which gave life and hope to parents who had children with this disability in their family.

Encouraged by the apostolic zeal of the first admirable nuns, others joined with the same ardor as the first. Sister Rose Mary Gafnef directed the educational work for many years and trained the teaching staff as well as the young religious inclined to special education.

The Institute of Our Lady of Wisdom has done pioneering work in the devotion to children with disabilities, it has always been in the forefront, to update its programs and offer quality and competitiveness. The religious directives with which it relied, never spared efforts to seek resources to improve every day the quality of education, training of the poorest and most vulnerable of society.

“All the sisters who have worked there have always done so, animated by the spirit of dedication, self-forgetfulness, unconditional love for the poor and marginalized, in an agile and dynamic way following the example of the founders.”

We never forget the importance of the family in the progress and formation of the child and the young person, for this reason the school of the parents, the periodic meetings, the inclusion of the parents in the catechesis and in general in all the important events, has always been for us a priority.

We are aware of the good that has been done for 97 long years, of the love and admiration that this beautiful work has awakened in all those who have known it, who have appreciated and received its benefits. We are witnesses of the extraordinary efforts that have been made at all levels to avoid its closure, the corporate name has been changed (formerly “Institut Notre-Dame de la Sagesse for deaf children”) into simply “Institut Notre-Dame de la Sagesse”, this in order to allow the inclusion of the staff to the different handicaps.
This also gave the possibility of entry to regular education students (without any disability) and non-enrolled students in agreement with the Ministry of Education, but this plan failed because the parents could not meet the commitments made and did not pay pensions.

Maintaining the work became really impossible due to the high cost of the salaries of the teaching and administrative staff, of the general services, of the maintenance of the building, of the payment of the services (electricity, water, telephone, internet). And other expenses that were always arising made it necessary to carry out thorough and conscientious studies on the possibility of continuing, or not, the work as we had done.

And with pain in our souls, as we say colloquially, we had to say NO to continue. It is impossible to swim against the tide. We are eternally grateful to the General Administration, which for so many years has reached out to us and allowed us to make the work work, the fruits remain and will be perennial, all the students who have benefited from this training, are useful people to themselves, to society and to their families, again a thousand thanks on behalf of each of them and their families.

For God, all efforts are worthwhile and we are sure that the lives of the Brothers who worked so lovingly to leave traces of Wisdom and enjoy God’s Presence in heaven today, are a source of blessing for all of us who continue to walk in the building of the Kingdom and sow the seeds of hope wherever we are.

Sr. Esther Nubia Duque Duque