PARAGUAY, Ani Souberlich •
Does anyone have information about Casa Madre de Tupãrenda? How is Casa Madre de Tupãrenda doing? How are the staff and the youth? Nothing has appeared on schoenstatt.org this year. The institutional website has not been updated for years, what is going on? Such questions and concerns were expressed again and again. The honest answer: we closed the year 2022 with great difficulties. —
“We reorganized ourselves even before Father Pedro left, and we continue to work despite all the difficulties, even though the state withdrew our funds a year ago. We have survived, thanks to God and many donors. In a few weeks we will have new graduates and spread good news,” says José Marín, president of Fundaprova, sponsor of Casa Madre de Tuparenda.
“It will be interesting to see how these restructurings have gone. Not only talking about the ‘good news’ but also what is happening in Casa Madre for real. That way, more people will be encouraged to come forward and help.” Roberto González of the schoenstatt.org team further advises, “If you don’t know what’s happening, it’s hard to help.” And he is right.
We ended 2022 with many difficulties: The state stopped supporting our home economically, so Fundaprova had to lay off staff who had worked at the facility for many years. In the midst of this came the sudden transfer of Fr. Peter Kühlcke to Germany to serve the General Council of his community as its Secretary General.
Humanly speaking, it was a total crash, with the inner struggle to discover God’s will behind the circumstances, for I could only see dark clouds and the storm brewing over our house. The financial situation, the staff cuts and the transfer of Father Pedro meant that we had to start almost all over again, just as in the beginning in 2016. The entire program had to be reorganized, the few of us who were left had to take on new responsibilities and, above all, not lose sight of the essential purpose for which Casa Madre de Tupãrenda was opened: to help our delinquent youth find meaning in their lives and give them the opportunity to achieve a better quality of life away from crime and drugs. To make them feel respected and loved, loved by a love that forgives, embraces and builds up. A love that transforms and changes their lives.
Starting the year 2023 with hope
This past January, we took a break for summer vacation. At the beginning of February, we resumed our work. We returned with renewed strength and the certainty that God writes straight on crooked lines and that everything turns out for the best for those who love Him, even if it is incomprehensible in the eyes of people.
Everything is now in the hands of committed lay people. The prison pastoral “Visitación de María” was taken over by Ismelda Vázquez, who from the beginning collaborated with Father Pedro Kühlcke in the catechetical team and brought the Saturday snack to the juvenile prison of Itauguá, where the detained youths are housed. The team continues the catechesis and invites the youth to come to Casa Madre de Tupãrenda after their release. “That’s where we are now with our boys who miss their P’ai, their Father Pedro, incredibly,” Ismelda says. “A really deep hole.”
Fundaprova commits, as it has from the beginning, with responsibility, dedication and generosity, to maintain our house, to take care of all its needs and with the awareness of responsibility for each one of the young people who have NO other place to go. Let’s not forget that Casa Madre de Tupãrenda is the only youth resocialization center in Paraguay.
Each youth a world
“Each participant comes with a baggage of different experiences: Frustrations, broken dreams, abandonment, forced labor, dysfunctional families, abuse in all its forms. Since when? In many cases, since childhood.
Name something positive you have, I ask them, to which they respond: I don’t think I have anything. The truth is that no one has ever asked me that. From then on, the process begins. The search to get out of the swamp and have solid ground under my feet; solid ground that allows to walk a new path, where there is room for unfinished dreams, forgotten goals and unachieved desires.
It is true: it is not easy. You still carry with you the burden of the past. Tired bodies, haggard faces. Their minds are still reeling from their experiences: drugs, lack of affection, little family support, loneliness, lack of discipline.
How do we cope with all this? How?
With love. With companionship. With a clear resolution: if at least one of them makes it and gets back on solid ground, we’ve won the game. Because there’s nothing better than seeing the smile of the young man with the cap in his hand saying “Thank you!”
We must not give up
All of us who have had the honor of working with Father Pedro since the beginning of Casa Madre de Tupãrenda can only say THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts, especially to the good God who made it possible for him to land on Paraguayan soil, to absorb the customs and culture from the beginning, and even to learn the Guarani language to reach the soul of the people. He began this noble task for the poorest and most abandoned, giving them a home and sowing hope in their hearts. He leaves a huge void to fill, but we are determined and certain that what is of God will always triumph. We are convinced that in this new stage, we must go into the newest time hopeful and confident of victory.
Help us to continue to help
Thanks to all the people who continue to support this noble cause so trustingly and generously, we have already had 54 graduates in these six years. That’s 54 young people who have changed their lives thanks to the continued support of each and every one of you. Every contribution counts. And in the words of the Holy Father, don’t forget to pray for each and every one of our young people.
Please consider a donation…
Bank account in Paraguay
Account 50 00408672
On behalf of: FUNDAPROVA RUC 80079669-1
Bank account in Germany
Name: Schönstatt-Patres International e. V.
IBAN: DE91 4006 0265 0003 1616 26
Intended purpose: Casa Madre de Tupãrenda
Original: Spanish. Translation: Maria Fischer @schoenstatt.org