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When the Doorbell Rings at Casa Juan Diego

by Angel Valdez

We know that when our doorbell rings, it may very well be Jesus himself knocking, in the disguise of the poor.

On Helping Families With Small Babies

When Rafael called and then came to Casa Juan Diego, we knew we had to respond, at least help a little. He asked for help to hire someone to take care of his two children so that he could go to work. He and his wife had just had a baby and she was hospitalized for post-partum depression. We help pregnant mothers who are in difficult situations and making a decision about carrying their baby. We also know that we must help families who are in desperate need of help when their baby has already been born – the consistent ethic of life.

Mother of Small Children Killed On the Way To the United States

When Pedro came, he was limping with a special boot on his foot from a work accident. He asked for help with his rent because he could not work for a while. Their grandmother cares for his children, who are two and three years old. It was hard to hear Pedro explain that he had sent for his wife, but she was killed two months ago in Mexico on her way to the United States.

Pedro asked for diapers for the children, and we responded as we usually do to those who come to the door asking for children’s diapers: “We will be glad to give you a dozen cloth diapers for each child, waterproof pants, and safety pins.” He agreed that the children’s grandmother could wash them. Good for the environment and very good for poor people who cannot afford to continue buying disposable diapers when they cannot even pay the rent.

by Brandon Curry, St. John’s College High School

Reuniting Small Children With Their Families

A parish called to ask our help for a family, seeking a solution to their problem. Could we help to get their child back? The grandmother had entered the country with a small child during the time the government was separating small children from their family members and shipping them off to other states. Now this small girl was in New York State (where her parents/grandparents did not send her), but the only way to get her back, now that permission was being given, was to pay the plane fare for two people (including an adult social worker who would also need a return ticket). Casa Juan Diego would be glad to help, but asked that the family get all the information needed – exactly to whom and how to send the money. A couple of weeks later the family came with a friend of the family who knew Casa Juan Diego. They had the information, but they were required to send $1,800 to Cayuga Centers in the Bronx, New York, where the child was being held. The price seemed exorbitant for flying a child to Houston. But we followed the instructions, purchasing a money order, writing the child’s full name on the money order, taking a picture of it, and then sending it to New York. We could not say no to this request to help reunite a small child with her family.

Not Good For a Small Baby To Live in a Car

In December a family came to the door asking for a place to stay. They had just been in the country a couple of months. When the father of the family got work, they bought an old car and rented a place. They already had a two-year old and their  second baby was born two weeks before they came to Casa Juan Diego. Evicted from their apartment, they had been living in their car. It seemed like the right thing to do to give “posada,” a place in the inn, to this family seeking shelter close to Christmastime with a 15-day-old baby.

From a Distance Trying to Help The Families in the Caravan

A couple recently called. They were distressed about the families in the caravan who were stuck in Mexico in dreadful conditions, waiting and hoping to apply for asylum in the United States. The couple asked us if they sent an additional check if we could get the money to Mexico to help the children there. With the help of our volunteers we were able to find a way to send a wire transfer to Cáritas Tijuana, the Catholic Church charity there like Catholic Relief Services.

Houston Catholic Worker, January-March, Vol. XXXIX, No. 1