The “Bolsa del Sello” Stamp Program

Bolsa del Sello was started at the end of the 1960s, when María Ignacia Areyzaga, an Alumna of San Sebastian, Spain, was the President of AMASC.

AMASC was founded officially in May 1965, in Brussels, Belgium, at a meeting of the National Presidents of the Sacred Heart Alumnae Associations.

In 1966, the First International Council took place in Rome. The bylaws of AMASC were voted upon and approved and the existing team saw its mandate prolonged to October 1967, the date on which the Second International Council was to elect a new team.

The tragic death of the first President of AMASC, Baroness Coppée, in February 1967, did not interrupt the preparations and her team convened the Second International Council in October 1967, as agreed.

This Council, in October 1967, saw the election of María Ignacia Areyzaga as President of AMASC, and the head office of the AMASC Executive Committee moved from Brussels to Madrid, Spain. 

María Ignacia promoted the creation of the Bolsa del Sello and a member of her team, Maribel Barreiro, an Alumna of Bilbao, Spain, assumed leadership responsibility for the work and directed her team for many years with great dedication and generosity.

In the 1971 AMASC Bulletin we read: “At the Association’s office in Bilbao (Gran Vía, 7) the Bolsa del Sello continues its work, but now at international level. In addition to Rome, which always sends us their stamps, this year Paris and New Zealand have also sent theirs. Thanks to the cooperation of all our friends we continue to work nonstop, and, in this way, we have raised 103.325,59 pesetas…” (approx. USD 850).[1]

Bolsa del Sello’s main office in Bilbao, began to receive cancelled stamps from all AMASC countries. The team’s work consists in classifying and cleaning them, and then marketing them. The money raised is sent to the AMASC President to enable Alumnae representatives from developing countries to attend and take part in the AMASC World Congresses.   

Bolsa del Sello has carried on its work for many years, with the same energy and with the same purpose. Today it continues thanks to the efforts of countless Alumnae. 

In 1990, with the inauguration of the retirement home “Residencia Santa Filipina” in Madrid, which is run by the ASCE Foundation, among the activities set up for the residents was another Bolsa del Sello. One of the new residents, Lourdes Pombo, an Alumna of SH Bilbao, with the help of other residents and volunteer Alumnae, took charge of the work. They prepared the stamps and then sent them to the office in Bilbao.

Maribel Barreiro visited the Residence on several occasions, congratulating them and encouraging them in their work. When Lourdes died, her successor was Carola Álvarez Arenas, an Alumna of Chamartín (Madrid), and for many years she led her team with great efficiency and selfless dedication.

It was at this time that Maribel Barreiro, after many years running the AMASC Bolsa del Sello asked the Chamartín Association to take charge of the main office. They accepted and Carola took on Maribel’s work. Stamps began to come in from many AMASC countries sending their parcels to Madrid rather than to Bilbao.            

In 2012, the Bolsa del Sello office was at the Chamartín Alumnae Association in Madrid and was run by Luisa Martín-Cobos, an Alumna of both Palma de Mallorca and Chamartín. Carola remained of the team. They continued to receive used stamps – from the Alumnae Associations in Spain (ASCE) and from all the countries that form part of the world-wide Association (AMASC), carrying on their exemplary work. [1]

The number of stamps continued to grow, and funds generated increased.  Although participation slowed considerably during the coronavirus pandemic beginning in 2020, early in 2023, our ASCE family sent AMASC 700€.

The money raised through the Bolsa de Sello continues to be sent to the ASCE National President who sends it to AMASC so that it can be used to fund the participation of Alumnae from developing countries at AMASC World Congresses. 

AMASC is grateful to the Spanish Alumnae Association for this wonderful work.  We encourage associations around the world to continue collecting and sending many used stamps to the Bolsa.[2]

Send cancelled stamps (except during the months of July and August) to:

Colegio Sagrado Corazón Rosales 

Att. Pilar Grassa 

Calle Ferraz, 63

28008 MADRID

[1] Information supplied in 2012 by Maria Jesús Ubarrechena, President of AASC San Sebastian who, as a member of María Ignacia Areyzaga’s committee, edited the AMASC magazine during that Presidency.

[2] Thanks to María Victoria Beruete, who compiled this history in October 2012

[3] Update July 2023 by AMASC Treasurer Marie Therese Sebrechts