Casa del Niño

Posted On 2022-11-13 In works of mercy

We can no longer allow them to feel alone and abandoned

ARGENTINA, Maria Fischer •

David approached me, a little shy and with a smile that warms the heart, he asked me: Why are you here? I felt I was in the “Pope’s video”, in the middle of his prayer intention for this month of November. I sat on the bench with David. With Jesus. Jesus dressed as an eight-year-old boy. “There are still millions of children who suffer…,” the Pope says. “They are not numbers: they are human beings with a name, with a face of their own, with an identity that God has given them.” They are David, Matthew, Alma, and Sophia …. And the three hundred more at the Casa del Niño in the San Nicolás neighborhood of Florencio Varela, a “work of pure love,” as the new director, Carolina Pellice, of the Focolare Movement, calls it. —

Casa del Niño

Silvia Asis (left), members of the administrative commission

We arrived on Thursday morning, November 3, with Gabriela Sarquis, of the Family Federation, a catechetical volunteer and member of the Board of Directors for several years. The new President, Juan Diego Stellatelli, and Carolina Pellice, the Director, greeted us and we were already in the middle of exchanging news and donations, social commitment, and the joy of being able to give a hand to about three hundred children… What Pope Francis says in the video of his intention for the month of November resounds: “Every child who is marginalized, abandoned by his family, without schooling, without medical assistance, is a cry! A cry that rises up to God and accuses the system that we adults have built”. A cry that has been heard here since March 19, 1985, when the foundation stone was laid that would give birth to the Casa del Niño, in the year of the centenary of the birth of Father Joseph Kentenich, for which it bears his name.

Casa del Niño

Look at my little tree!

We did not have much time left to chat. Silvia Asis with students from the School of Pharmacy and Biochemistry of the University of Buenos Aires were there for a workshop on recycling. With newspaper, bottle caps and all kinds of materials normally thrown away, the children, with the help of the students, were creating little works of art. I didn’t have much time left to chat with Silvia and ask her for an article, because Mateo approached me with a radiant face: “Look at my tree,” he said, showing me a paper Christmas tree, painted green and decorated with plastic stars, leaning on a bottle cap. Alma did not want to be left behind and showed me a drawing on recycling. At the same moment, I was surrounded by other children who all showed me, with pride, their works, their drawings… The students, it seems to me, are no less proud of their work done here in the periphery. They did not want to leave without taking a picture with all the children.

Casa del Niño

A true spirit of service

With Carolina, Gabriela, and Juan Diego we toured the house, the large playground, the newly built meeting room, the barbecue. “We received a couple of computers as gifts,” they told me, “but they didn’t work…. We thought about offering computer courses for the older kids, but impossible…” The computers and screens look like they belong to another age… “A couple of tablets would help us a lot,” says Carolina.

They showed me everything they managed to fix, and everything that is still up to do. Women from the neighborhood, whose children are in the Casa, work in the kitchen and in cleaning. There are some employees and many volunteers – although, as Gabriela says, the distance to the city often prevents young people from getting involved.

Cynthia Cargnelutti, a psychologist, and Adriana, a volunteer teacher, are from the Focolare Movement. They consciously moved to Florencio Varela to live there with the poor, in the periphery, and with a lot of commitment, in a true spirit of service, they work at the Casa del Niño. Together for the poor, I say, referring to “Together for Europe”. It is here, on the periphery, where we find the “what for” of our charisms, where we live that spirit of “together for…”, so important for Chiara Lubich, the foundress of the Focolare, “who loved Schoenstatt and the shrine”, as the two of them answered me.

Casa del Niño

Why are you here?

It was time for lunch for the children of the morning shift. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, an apple. For many, the only hot meal of the day, if not the only such meal.

David, who had invited me to tell him why I was here with them (because I wanted to see my friends, you), wanted to know if Germany is going to the World Cup, if I had already been to a Bayern Munich game (what a disappointment to tell him never) and what we eat in Germany, if I like broccoli… Suddenly, he asked me: Is Germany close to Russia? More or less, yes… Can Russia assault Germany as it assaulted Ukraine? Before I could answer him (thinking of an answer for a 10-year-old boy…), he told me: “Don’t be afraid, if they raid Germany, you come this way, I’ll leave you my bed at home, I’ll protect you…”

While David and the others leave and we eat and exchange and while the children from the afternoon shift come to eat, I keep thinking about this generous child, such a friend… How and where is he going to be in 20, 30 years? We do not know. But a memory of the love received at Casa del Niño will remain in his heart, forever.

A day at Casa del Niño. Good News. Joy in the Gospel and yes, joy in the church.

Casa del Niño

With my friends

Concrete solidarity

Donate online

Bank Account in Argentina

Name: Casa del Nino Padre José Kentenich
Account: 4002-500061/0
CBU: 01400021-01400202698121
Bank: Banco de la Provincia de Buenos Aires

Bank Account in Germany (SEPA Zone)
Name: Schoenstatt-Patres International
IBAN: DE22 4006 0265 0003 1616 07
Intended use: Casa del Niño P. Kentenich

Institutional Page

Casa del Niño

Original: Spanish. Translation: Maria Fischer

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