Students and parishioners of San Diego County – can you share part of your Halloween candy for the children of the Casa de los Pobres (House of the Poor) in Tijuana?
The candy will become part of the Christmas distribution at the Casa. The Sisters of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Queen of Peace coordinate an annual Christmas distribution where 1,500 impoverished families receive a chicken, rice, beans, canned vegetables and fruit, and a bag of candy to make the festivities a little sweeter. Families also receive blankets, jackets, shoes and toys for the children.
If you’d like to share your Halloween candy, please leave your candy donations in the office of your school or church, and mark them, “Casa de los Pobres.” Continue reading
St. Polycarp, Bishop
Gloria G., 30 years old, learned about Casa de los Pobres in mid-September, and she came to ask for help for her and her 10-year-old son. Her husband abandoned her six years ago, afraid of her advanced tuberculosis. In spite of this serious condition, with help of family and other people, she had treatment that saved her life, although she lost one of her lungs.
She continues to be under medical care; she suffers physical tiredness, so she cannot have a stable job. Frequently, she needs to be in the hospital. Doctors recommend a balanced diet to gain weight, but she cannot recuperate because she does not have the money to keep a nutritional diet. She learned to do some haircuts and nails and other simple things to be able to earn a little money to support her son who is in school. This summer, he worked in a supermarket bagging food, so he could buy his backpack and return to school. After listening to her story, the Casa offered her a card to come weekly for groceries on Bodega Day, shoes for her son, school supplies, and added her son to the scholarship aid list. Gloria was very surprised and very grateful to God for finding Casa de los Pobres. Continue reading
A Jesuit Seminarian stayed at the Casa last year, and here is part of his story . . .
“I went to teach catechism with Sisters Angeles and Teresa in the Santa Julia Colonia. It is far off and known for its high crime rate. Many houses are built precariously along the hillside. We visited two hardworking families. They were very warm and generous. We later reached the Center, a small building with three classrooms and a large field. The Sisters told of the problems they have with theft and vandalism even though the rooms are very simple. It was living in extreme poverty or in very desperate situations which led to this destruction, I thought.”
Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours
it is indeed a consolation and a joy for the poor to come to the Casa. Along with food and medical care, many spiritual and emotional needs are met by the loving and wise care of the Sisters . . .
“Thanks to God and to all benefactors and to the Sisters for the great support they are giving us. Many thanks because thanks to this, I will keep on in my studies and enable me to be a better person. Many thanks for all your help and may God bless you.” Juan V.
From a mother with 4 children, among them twin girls of 4 years old. One of them has a serious brain problem and the other is real alert. In the name of her children, she writes: “Good day for all. I thank you for helping me with school aid for the whole school year of kindergarten 2015-16. The girls Briseida and Brissa will go to 3rd kinder year, thanks to your great help. May God bless you and continue to bless you.”
Special Requests: School Supplies, Backpacks, Shoes, Socks
The Nuns encourage the children to better themselves through earnest study. Their parents understand the importance of school. The Sisters who teach classes in the Colonias of Santa Julia and The Railroad (the Dumps) report good progress; the children are eager to learn and apply themselves well. Many who have received scholarship aid are now nurses, lawyers, psychologists, and others who hold good jobs. These successful adults were destitute children when they came to the Casa some years ago.
The need for FOOD AND THE BASICS — toilet paper, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo — the little things that we take for granted — is ever present. Continue reading
A Jesuit notice writes about his visit to a distant Colonia: “We visited Dona Elma, a diabetic, who comes to the Casa when she can for food and medical help. This trip takes two buses and 45 minutes. She has problems seeing and walking. Her house is in a downhill ravine with a difficult and uneven path. I was saddened when I saw the situation in which she lives. The walls are falling apart, the roof doesn’t cover the entire home, and she needs to use a bucket as a toilet since the outhouse is no longer functional.”
“She receives very little help from the government and finds that going to the Casa de los Pobres is worth the difficulties. When she is able to make the trip, she obtains food and medical attention. I was amazed by her faith and joy. In spite of all this, Dona Elma does not lose her good spirits. She says she always tries to look at the bright side of things.” Continue reading
St. Leo the Great
A note of gratitude from one of the children of the Casa (translated)
“Well, first of all I would like to thank you for the help that you have been giving us these past years. Thank you for your help in my sister’s and my school supplies, because it is a big help. My Mom’s weekly salary is $61 (in U.S. dollars) a week and she needs to pay rent, electricity, water, food, our lunch (we are three sisters), and bus tickets to go to our schools (kindergarten, elementary, and secondary school). This is all a big help. May God multiply all you give us a thousand to one. You are a true blessing. Thank you. God bless you.” Guadalupe R.C.
The Sisters provide hope, courage, strength, and love to these people
Many of the men, women, and children who come to the Casa are weak, need medical care, food, and clothing. They are overwhelmed with physical and mental ills. Most are very hungry, and so they apply for food cards from the Social Service Office. Often, these people have no food at home. These cards enable hundreds to come for Bodega Day each Thursday to receive a bag of donated groceries — beans, rice, a few vegetables, a can of food, and some day old bread. FOOD IS UPPERMOST IN THE MINDS OF THE POOR. Continue reading
” . . . but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give.” St. Francis of Assisi
The Sisters instill hope and treat each individual with a tenderness, respect, and love that can only come from God. The undercurrent of JOY amid so much destitution and illness is felt by anyone who visits the Casa. During the Holy Hour and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on Thursdays, the people chant praise and thanksgiving to God for your intentions and special prayer requests. Please send us your special requests. No donations are necessary. Continue reading
“Mrs. Nely H., a widow of 65 years, came to the Casa de Los Pobres telling us she cares for her three grandchildren (Luis 11, Mary 6, and Javier 5). Their single mother has been in jail for 4 years. She came to ask for food, clothing, and school supplies for her grandchildren. Nely is in a house loaned to her, as she has no money to pay rent. She works in the dumps collecting recyclable materials in order to buy food. Nely is grateful for finding the Casa, and says she now feels more tranquil because she has found this place. She is more confident and will keep coming for help.”
“This nation is affluent and has more than it needs. The realization that what we have is a free gift can deepen our desire to share the GIFT with others who cry out for help.” Henri Nouwen
Mrs. Maritza Cortez, 32 years, came to the Casa recently to ask for help for some medical tests for her 12-year-old daughter. She is only in the 4th grade because her vision is very poor. Guadalupe lives with her parents and three brothers. Their little home is made of old pieces of wood and is situated in the railroad colonia. Last year, her doctors found that Guadalupe has Lumbar Sclerosis. The mother came to the Casa using public transportation. That trips takes two hours. She asked for help so that her daughter can have a test for this disease. The family is very poor. Casa de Los Pobres will help this family with scholarship aid so the younger children can go to school. The Casa also gave Mrs. Cortez a card to come on Thursday for food (Bodega Day). Continue reading
St. Francis of Assisi
We asked Sister, “What are the greatest needs?” Sister Armida’s answer:
Sick people line up at the Clinic while it is still dark and cold. At this time, our weather is especially cold and inclement. The breakfast lines are very long. People begin arriving at 6:00 AM and circle around the sidewalks outside the Casa shivering while waiting for the doors to open. The Casa is a place of refuge, spiritual solace and friendship for the many men, women, and children who come here.
The people suffer from wind and cold weather, especially at night. They huddle together to try and keep warm. The Sisters request:
- Blankets, tarps
- Warm jackets, socks
- Over-the-counter medicines
- Soap, towels
- Baby, children, and men’s clothing
- Any extra citrus or other fruit you may harvest from your yard