Day Care Center - Lima, Peru

Always faithful to the charism ”tender and compassionate in the service of life,”  the Religious Hospitallers of Saint Joseph of Santa Anita, began a work to help the most disadvantaged.
Saturday, August 7, 2010, we were all together in the small room which had been converted into the Saint Joseph Day Care Centre. Those present were Sister Catalina Castillo Ramirez of the Huaraz community, Sisters Gisele Cyr, Carmela Prada, Cirila Urbizagastegui from the Regional House, the associates and neighbours, some parents and children, who now are part of a big family.

We began with the celebration of the Word, led by Sister Maria Magdalena Cahuaza Camasca. Then the priest arrived. Sister Maria Magdalena presented everybody who would collaborate in this work:  two employees who live in San Carlos, four young persons and three Sisters. After the Our Father the priest proceeded to the blessing of the room, a very significant action. He finished with a blessing for each person present.

During the closing hymn, “Nazareth”, we installed the ribbon and  took out the bottle of champagne. The official sponsor, Sister Gisele Cyr, armed with a hammer and radiating joy, broke the bottle and cut the ribbon.  This was quite an event, because our desire to begin work was finally realized. With great joy we proclaimed a “toast” and shared a light lunch. In order to become better acquainted with each other, we played a game, using small knitted slippers made by Sister Jeannette Boisjoly at the Mother House in Montreal.

On Monday, August 9, we returned to the premises and found that two employees had arrived before us.  We quickly found something to do and soon the children arrived: twins, a little boy and a little girl and also, two little brothers.  They first moved toward the games.  We observed and guided them.  For dinner we ate chicken.  The children were content.  Tuesday was also a big day.  The children worked, played, laughed, hugged and also cried.  Wednesday a new girl showed up and was quickly integrated into the group.  Thursday two little boys and a little girl arrived, who adapted quickly to the group.  For sure, each child is a unique treasure.  Our first week ended with the awareness that we had been blessed by the Holy Family and the  satisfaction of knowing that we are fostering life and receiving it as well.

Saturday, late in the night, we received a call informing us of a theft at the day care centre. Frightened, we made several calls in order to find a youth who could accompany us.  Maria Magdalena said that even if everything were taken, we were going to continue.  We went outside and found a patrol car parked on our street, so we asked the police to drive us to the Centre, which they did.  The door to the Day Care Centre was open.  We went in and to our great surprise we found everything in its place.  St. Joseph, our faithful guardian, had protected our house.  On the other hand we had a lot of compassion for the family next door, because things had been stolen from them.

On Monday we began with renewed energy and hope.  This new project is for the most disadvantaged and the glory of God.  Another child was integrated into the group.  We had our first feast on the Day of the Child. We danced, laughed and played, while enjoying cookies and a corn drink.
We live united in prayer and under the protection of the Holy Family, a model of unity and humanity which we can all imitate.