When Ursuline Sr. Larraine Lauter first visited Honduras in 2001, she heard wailing coming from a nearby house while walking by with a priest. He remarked that they were supposed to join the family for dinner at that house that night, but their 2-year-old daughter had recently died from drinking dirty water.
"I could not compute that," Lauter said. "I could not integrate that into my world experience."
She returned to Honduras several times in the years following, once as part of a medical mission in Tegucigalpa. Stomach parasites were a common recurrence among patients. Around 2006, Arnie LeMay, a hospital engineer who worked alongside Lauter, told her they could eliminate half the patient visits just by cleaning up the water.
"That was a door opening, a light coming on," she said.
Since then, Lauter has honed the spirit of collaboration with women religious around the world to bring filters to those who otherwise wouldn't have clean water. When women religious collaborate and network — whether it's between religious congregations, shareholders or African villages — they prove how instrumental they are in bringing drinkable water to the marginalized.
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