PARAGUAY, Ani Souberlich and Maria Fischer •
12 February was the first anniversary of the blessing of Mother of Tupãrendá House’s (CMT) cornerstone, a center for the social re-insertion of teens, who have had a run-in with the law in Paraguay. The house was built in just six months, and the doors were immediately opened to welcome the participants; currently there are nineteen. Six months have passed where day to day we can witness the “small, great miracles” in the lives of each one of them, six months of important advances and great will power to stand upright.
These are miracles and they are real
Some short messages the mothers sent thanking us for the opportunity their sons are getting that speak of the miracles happening in Mother of Tupãrendá House, not only in the lives of the youths, but in those of their families:
“My son just came by to tell about everything he did today. We are very happy that he likes going there, and now I see he has changed and that makes me happy. Thank you, a thousand thanks for what you do for my son…”
“Thank you for helping me put that smile on my son’s face…” (She sent a photo of her son smiling).
So much accumulated hope, so many changed lives…
Pope Francis’ words to the personnel who work with young offenders: “Your task is uplift not to bring down; to dignify not to humiliate; to encourage not to afflict” and that is the only way to obtain their trust.
It is a gift to share with them everyday and to see the transformation they are undergoing from their exterior aspect, their manner of speaking and of behaving. It is beautiful to see them recuperate the ability to “dream” about something better with which they can be someone in life that inspires them to desire returning to their studies. For this, it is a great joy when “XX” arrives bringing a receipt showing he has made a tuition payment, and the first payment allows us to verify that they have lacked opportunities: they have not had a parent to guide them, the majority of them do not have a family, they have gone through life trying to survive however they can, and the streets have pushed them to consume (drugs) in order to forget the pain and loneliness.
Beyond wanting to correct or educate them, the first thing that they need is to be welcomed, accepted, treated with affection and once that “they test” that they are accepted as they are and that for us they are not “ex-offenders,” but teens like others…this is when each one really begins to spread his wings.
They begin to show that they can be given a task where they can be left alone with the assurance that they will carry out the task well. They change aggression to solidarity, shouting to speaking moderately…this is when God works on their souls.
I wish I could share with you the profound joy that is felt every time that these changes are being realized. It is a joy that breaks the heart to be able to almost touch the miracle of God’s love in each one of them. Only the miracle of the Father’s merciful love and the Blessed Mother’s maternal love can breathe on the wound and allow it to heal from so much pain. Only they can mold the clay of their lives.
This is an experience that can only happen when we decide to go to encounter the other to share “that opportunity that I had.” To share the love, God gives me each day with the boys, through the “human you,” the “bond” so that God’s love descends to earth and enkindles the light of hope in their hearts. When you can witness that love is the greatest strength of change, then you can kneel and remain silent, since God himself is chiseling his work.
For many, Mother of Tupãrendá House is the home they never had, that family that was always absent in their lives.
We can change Paraguay
One of the youths who already left Mother Tupãrendá House with his certificate and can continue to study, wrote to Fr. Pedro Kühlcke via WhatsApp: “I can get many more boys for (CMT). We can change Paraguay!”
Fr. Pedro commented with emotion: “It is the first time that a beneficiary has posed something like that me!”
For many, the road of recuperation and social re-insertion coincides with the road of faith. This also gives its fruits. Bishop Joaquín Robledo of the Diocese of San Lorenzo, to which Tupãrendá belongs, was invited for 21 March. The bishop shared lunch with the boys and the organizers, and he celebrated Mass where six of the beneficiaries received their First Communion and one received Confirmation. The teen prepared seriously and joyfully; Cristina, their catechist accompanied them.
Some time ago, Maria Fischer, from schoenstatt.org, received a call from a German woman who asked a question never asked before: “Can you tell me about a project where I can make a significant donation? Can you tell which is your favorite project?” Maria Fischer responded: “All of them are impressive and important… But the truth is that personally it is Mother of Tupãrendá House…” She couldn’t finish the sentence since the woman interrupted: “I can tell. It was also my choice. This is where the future of the boys is decided and for all of a country. That is worth what I saved.”
Preparation for First Holy Communion
Mother of Tupãrendá House needs all of us – schoenstatt.org is not satisfied with the real stories about the miracles of transformation.
After the story – what? The invitation to become sponsors in prayer and capital of grace for one these boys. A Covenant of Solidarity.
After reading the story – what? The invitation is to demonstrate with deeds that we are really in solidarity with the boys and with the people who dedicate their time and abilities to them. And we make a great effort, along with other allies of solidarity, to offer all our readers the opportunity to do it with just a click of the button. Thank you on behalf of the nineteen youths that can and want to change Paraguay and the world.
The question is not: Why should I donate?. It is: Why do I not?
Account in Paraguay:
Sudameris Bank SAECA, BIC BSUDPYPXXXX
Account in Europe (transfers from SEPA are free)
Schönstatt-Patres International e. V.
IBAN DE91 4006 0265 0003 1616 26
Intended use: Fr. Pedro Kühlcke, Casa Madre de Tuparenda
Original: Spanish, Feb 26, 2017. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA