María Ayuda, Chile

LogoMaría Ayuda (Mary Helps) is an institution founded in 1983 by Father Hernán Alessandri Morandé. 
Its main function is the reparation and prevention of infantile maltreatment (abuse, violence, and abandonment).

It emerged as a consequence to the strong economic crisis.  As a result, Fr. Alessandri searched for a means to bring about something in order to rescue the dignity of the young girls who engaged in prostitution.

María Ayuda has as its main mission to dignify the most destitute boys and girls and to strengthen their families by sheltering and educating them, thus being instruments so they can fulfill the healing of their attachments with themselves, others and with God by means of reparation and prevention…to help them grow as free, responsible and solid persons.  Counting on the help of the Virgin Mary from the Schoenstatt Shrine and based on the spirituality of Father Joseph Kentenich.

María Ayuda projects itself as the Catholic institution leader in the battle against abuse, violence, and infant abandonment…with a special emphasis on girls and their families.

The values and spirituality, which sustain the project are faithfully rooted in Schoenstatt pedagogy:

  • Family spirit
  • Personal and efficient commitment
  • Confidence in God’s Providence
  • Service
  • Respect and care for the life of others
  • Solidarity


Who does it serve

Mary Helps focuses on boys, girls and adolescents (between the ages of 2 and 17) who are poor and face situations of maltreatment in their homes.In most cases, their fathers and mothers are abusive, violent and neglect them.

They also work with boys, girls and adolescents who are at risk.  They try to prevent their maltreatment.  As a result, 1700 persons (boys and girls) benefit.

Means of working

There are 21 social programs.  Among them are residential homes, day-care centers, centers for specialized care, schools, kindergartens, and programs for educational support.

The work of the institution has 3 fundamental pillars:

  • Rescue dignity
  • To re-emphasize the value of the Family and
  • To strengthen the attachments


The process for psychosocial-spiritual intervention lasts between 1 and 3 years and has 3 stages:

  • Feeling at home:  That the child experiences confidence and security.
  • Transformation:  Parallel intervention with the child and his/her family, psychologists and social assistants for: healing the wounds and rehabilitating him/her with tools for resilience and allow reinsertion into the home.
  • Sending forth:  re-insertion into his/her family and follow-up.



There are 280 hired professionals and 250 volunteers.

Needs and Projects

"Barbara Kast" HomeAssociates and sponsors are needed, who commit to sending a monthly contribution for the boys and girls who gather there.

María Ayuda initiated a solidary campaign to help the homes of the boys and girls harmed in the affected zones by the earthquake that occurred in February of 2010.  Aware of the damage and pain, which our country is suffering due to the earthquake, Mary Helps has focused its help – especially on the homes and day-care centers for boys and girls in the affected zones – regardless of which institution is in need.

Towards 2014

Home for teenage mothers and their children“We want to offer a gift for the 100 years of the Covenant of Love.  We want to be present in all of Chile with our Work, in the shadow of each Shrine or Schoenstatt Family so that from that place Mary can care for her smallest boys and girls just as She took care of the child, Joseph Kentenich, since he was 9 years old in the orphanage in Oberhausen, Germany.  Because of this, everywhere, our efforts in the future will be focused on attending to, as far as possible, the number of girls and boys whom we know are waiting for us to give them the home that they have been deprived of.  In practice, this means that Mary Helps must be in the heart of each Schoenstatter and they must feel this as the social action of the Blessed Mother herself…from each Shrine.”

Spreading and attachment

From Chile, Mary Helps has spread to Spain, Burundi, Portugal, Peru and Argentina and being present in the cities of Iquique, Antofagasta, viña del Mar, Santiago, Curicó, Concepción, Los Angeles and Temuco (Chile), Madrid (Spain), Bujumbura (Burundi), Lisbon (Portugal), Lima (Peru) and Paraná (Argentina).

Contact and more information

Father Francisco Pereira, Spiritual Director

Avda. Columbia 7742
La Florida, Santiago, Chile
Telephone: (56) 2 – 328 0100 (56) 2 – 328 0127




  • Depositing in the account

Deposit in current account or electronic transfer in the name of Maria Ayuda Corporacion de Beneficiencia.
Current account No.  71-80.000-02 de Scotiabank
Routing #: 71.209.100-2
Send confirmation email to collection


Translation:  Carlos Cantú, Schoenstatt Family Federation, La Feria, Texas USA  12132011