header icons

Wounded Healers

Early this summer when Mark had surgery on his ear for skin cancer, he was told he must strictly limit his physical activities for two weeks. He had to have his ear dressed and bandaged each day, along with a place on his face where skin was removed for a graft on the ear. He was not allowed to bend over.

Mark always helped with everything around the houses. Thinking that there was now a lot to be done and that Mark must rest, Louise was rushing around to do what she could. As she walked toward the door of the women’s house/office of Casa Juan Diego, she looked up to see many people coming for help. Distracted, she tripped on the sidewalk and broke her wrist in two places.

Now Louise could not help with the bandages and other CW’s came forward to help. Mark very quickly began to help Louise, now in a cast, with simple tasks like getting dressed (he could do this as long as he did not bend over).

Mark had a big bandage on his ear. When one Maryknoll priest came in and saw the bandage and Louise’s cast, he smiled and said, “The obvious question is, “Who won?”

After two weeks, Mark’s bandage was removed. The next day he fell into a five-foot hole made by some fire-fighters after a fire and badly bruised and twisted his knee. Fortunately, his leg was not broken, but he was badly injured and spent several weeks on crutches.

All the while, the activities of Casa Juan Diego continued, but soon with the help of a number of summer volunteer Catholic Workers, including two from Notre Dame and a Dominican seminarian.

Some of the women with children were able to move out if the house to get on their own and several new families moved in. We have a house full of children and several women who are quite ill.

Hospitals continue to call us about very sick people who need a place to go. We can receive some in our houses for sick and wounded men. With the help of our contributors and other guests in our houses, we care for them as best we can. Others are so sick that we need to pay a personal care home. Several have died in recent months, whether through their illness or violent crimes against them.


Guests of our Houses and Those Who Have Helped Casa Juan Diego

Hector Mendez

Alejandro Perez

Richard Black

Miguel Escobar

Casa Juan Diego Clinics

In the meantime, our volunteer doctors in the Casa Juan Diego and Casa Maria Clinics continue to see many patients, working in preventive medicine to control diabetes, high blood pressure, epilepsy, asthma, and other chronic illnesses, but seeing emergency patients as well.

Economic Crisis

The worldwide economic crisis affects everyone here. Attendance at our food distributions each week is growing, especially in the summer when children are out of school.
Immigrants in Houston are having a difficult time finding work. Some are asking for help in returning home. The problem is that this is a worldwide financial crisis. The culprits are the international financial and banking system and the long-term policies of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund as well as major banks that have hurt developing countries. These countries, especially the poor, are not in a position to withstand the current crisis.

Houston Catholic Worker, Vol. XXIX, No. 4, September-October 2009.