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Thanksgiving Letter

Artist: Angel Valdez

No government agency guarantees the future of Casa Juan Diego, but it continues to survive, thanks to you all. We have received so much.

Of course, the generosity is not meant for us (we are not paid), but for the many hundreds of women, men, and children who stay at Casa Juan Diego, for the hundreds who come weekly for food or medical services, for the sick and injured, the paralyzed who receive help at Casa Juan Diego when they cannot receive it from the government.

Your generosity not only keeps us humble, but also gives us encouragement. This encouragement is most important to us. Our work is very hard, because we are dealing with the needs and problems of the many immigrants and refugees who pass through our houses, staying a few days or a few months, and the desperate who come to our doors.

Thanksgiving often gets short shrift, not only in our acquisitive culture, but in non-acquisitive Casa Juan Diego culture. We no sooner survive one crisis before there is another so devastating that it inhibits giving thanks for resolving the first. We allow ourselves to be held hostage by crises, acting as if we are the only people in Houston who can solve crises. Such is not the case.

We tend to be spiritual beggars, always seeking prayers for guidance of the Spirit, but not hanging around for “thanks,” joining the nine lepers who went away thankless with enough ingrates to form a baseball team, which takes nine players.

Our distractions are so great that we forget to thank the poor who come to us for giving us the opportunity to live the Gospel.

People wonder how we do survive and how we do so much with so little. One reason is our adoption of St. Augustine’s principle: Work as if all depended on you, pray as if all depended on the Lord.

This year we have to give special thanks not only for so much generosity, but for those who bravely walked the sidewalks with their donations to come to our doors during the weeks that the city construction project had closed down Rose Street in front of our house and no vehicles could come through. Bath towels, pillows, coats and blankets, food, an amazing amount of new underwear, adult diapers and underpads, wheel chairs, pack ‘n plays for babies, toiletries, and many other necessities continued to arrive, brought by people on foot.

Not to mention the countless people who have sent financial donations that keep us afloat.

Many thanks to all of you who keep us going year after year, and for not getting tired of us mendicants.


Louise Zwick and all at Casa Juan Diego