Sussex County’s La Esperanza to honor Carmelite Sisters


La Esperanza will host a celebration on August 19 to honor the Carmelite Sisters of Charity for their 20 years of service to the Latino community. The three Catholic nuns are retiring, but their legacy will continue through the recently launched Sisters’ Fund.

The event will be held from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. in room Carter 540 at the Delaware Technical Community College in Georgetown. Attendees are asked to donate to the fund, which was created to ensure that the sisters’ charitable work continues through La Esperanza’s services.

La Esperanza, based on Race Street in Georgetown, was born out of the compassion of Sister Ascensión Banegas, Sister Rosa Álvarez, and Sister María Mairlot, who came to Georgetown in the 1990s to help immigrants arriving in Delaware to work in the poultry plants.

They began helping them find affordable housing, connecting pregnant women with prenatal care services and intervening on behalf of domestic abuse victims.


“Their work has lifted spirits and transformed lives. We want to honor the sisters’ many accomplishments and ensure their important humanitarian work continues in the area,” said Ileana Smith, event chairperson and a board member at La Esperanza.

With the help of many sponsors and individuals in the community, La Esperanza has helped tens of thousands of people.

The nuns also helped establish the child care center Primeros Pasos, La Casita, La Red Health Center and El Centro Cultural. One of the sisters’ primary goals has always been to help immigrants assimilate into the community so that it may be strengthened and enriched.

“They’ve developed important partnerships, and we know many people want to come out and give their thanks for their dedication to strengthening the local community,” said Charlie Burton, the board president of La Esperanza.

Admission to the event is free. Donations, big and small, are encouraged to fund the organization’s mission. Attendees are asked to RSVP at or call (302) 854-9262.

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