LICATHOLIC.ORG | Your Source for Local & Global Catholic News 

Diocese of Rockville Centre

Pontifical Mission Societies & Mission Office

Meet Our Missioners

Brother Alex

Cochabamba, Bolivia can be a sorrowful place for homeless children. Br. Alexander Walsh, a Maryknoll Missioner from our diocese, works at Amanecer to help street children find hope and new life. The word Amanecer means “daybreak” in Spanish, and “daybreak” is surely what Br. Alex’s mission is in Bolivia, bringing sunshine and a new day to children who would otherwise not have hope.

Children with little or no self-esteem, aggressive behavior or any other issues are rescued from the streets and taught that they can have a loving family, honest and dignified employment, and a welcoming home.

While describing the Amanecer Project, Brother Alex writes:

About one hundred and fifty years ago, in 1862, the first Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus arrived in the United States from England, fulfilling the dream of their foundress, Cornelia Connelly, to have convents and schools of the Holy Child in the land of her birth. Our mission is the same today as it was when Cornelia began the Society – to help others to understand that God lives and acts in us and in our world and to rejoice in His presence.

Nineteen years ago, Sister Ann Joyce Peters, SHCJ and two lay volunteers arrived in the Dominican Republic to join FE Y ALEGRIA, a Jesuit-run center for out-reach programs. No running water, no electricity, no telephone, but many children from the Haitian families who lived under deplorable conditions in the Batey  greeted them.

Today a Montessori School, Sister Mary Alice’s dream, is ready to welcome three and four year olds from Lecheria, to prepare them for the future when they will join their brothers and sisters at the school.

The WELL  BABY  CLINIC,  at this same mission, which is organized professionally by Dr. John McLennan from Calgary University in Canada, is run for the children of Lecheria (all Haitian immigrants) age 0 to 4 years to monitor their growth. Anemia is a big problem, so at one year and three years the children are tested in the lab, the results taken weekly to a child specialist who prescribes iron and folic acid according to need. Mothers receive education on breast feeding, healthy foods, parasites, clean water, etc. Children who do not show improvement or are not growing properly are taken to the specialist. Almost every family in the Batey comes to the clinic, so it is really valued by the Haitian families of Lecheria. Sister Kathleen King, SHCJ rejoices because the WELL  BABY  CLINIC has saved the lives of so many little children.

Young women,  just out of College, have joined our SHCJ as volunteers in the school, and lay couples with medical background have given many months at the clinic. The people of Lecheria may live under deplorable conditions, but the children have a school where they love to come and the families have a clinic where someone cares and where medical help makes such a difference.

Missionary, MarySr. Mary Thaddeus Glass

I never considered myself a missionary working in Kentucky. When I look back some thirty plus years ago I realize how different it was then. There have been many positive changes but unfortunately the unemployment rate remains very high and it remains the second poorest county in Kentucky.

There are a few stories that will give you a taste of the wonderful people of South Eastern Kentucky.
A mother came into the clinic with her baby and said “Hits a goodun, hit never cries. It’s my least un and I have nary a thing to put on it”.

Another man I visited at home had an upper respiratory infection which he was treating with “yaller root and creek water”.

I want to assure you that not everyone was like above. We had our young people who became doctors, lawyers and engineers. Unfortunately, many did not come back to practice in Clay County.
After I retired and volunteered at the prison, I met many wonderful men there. One of the stories I could tell from there is how so many thanked God they were incarcerated. They realized they turned back to God and had the opportunity to turn their lives around.

I speak of a limited number of men I had close contact with. I saw all of the 1200 men at the Federal Correction Institute (FCI) and the 500 at the camp as men made in the image and likeness of God and all were courteous to me even if I did not know them.

I loved my work there and seen many positive changes though we remain No. 1 in unemployment and poverty.
They are trying.

Sr. Mary Thaddeus Glass, CIJ