The school year is now underway at Santa Maria del Mexicano. The beginning of the year has been a bit hectic as we get to know the new members of our family and as everyone gets settled in. We are grateful to be able to serve 180 children and 25 elderly this year.
As is always the case, there are many more children seeking placement than we can accept, and it seems to me the living situations that many of our children are coming from get worse each year. They are exposed to more violence and abuse all the time, which is why the work of Santa Maria is so important. Here at Santa Maria, many of our children find a safe place for the first time and would rather not go home. It is such a blessing for them not to worry about their next meal, the leaks in the roof of their house, or the clothes they need. For once, they can simply be children with the concerns of the daily life of a child.
One of our children, Diana, shared the following story. “When I was 2 years old, my mother died in an accident and my father abandoned us. So my brothers and I went to live with my grandmother. As she was very old and lived alone, she did not have what she needed to feed and care for us, and so she brought us to Santa Maria where we have studied and lived since. It is here, at Santa Maria, that I have come to understand the importance of helping others. I know when I helps others, I can help them to be transformed and become better.” Her story is quite typical of our children at Santa Maria.
One of the most significant blessings that we have received this past year is the assistance of several volunteer groups in helping us to improve the formation of our caregivers. As our children are arriving at Santa Maria with many serious issues due the traumas they have suffered in their lives, our caregivers are in need of further training. Our caregivers are truly dedicated to the mission of Santa Maria and we are grateful to be able to offer them further training. All of us need to continually learn and improve ourselves so we are better able to attend to the children’s needs with care and compassion in order for them to heal. As we go forward, I foresee that we will need to expand our staff, especially in the area of counseling, to meet the needs of our children.
We are very grateful for all of you who support Santa Maria with your visits, donations and prayers. Santa Maria plays a significant role in the lives of the people of central Mexico and relies on the generosity of so many from all parts of the world in order to continue. If you also feel called to assist this work, please visit santamariadelmexicano.org for more information.
Please keep all of us at Santa Maria in your prayers.
FR. DAN ESTES, SOLT
Fr. Dan is originally from Wyoming and was ordained a priest for SOLT in 1999. He has been serving at Santa Maria since 2016.