Easter is the holiest day of the year. This is the day when Christ unlocked the gates of Heaven for us and opened the door to our true home!
There are few things more comforting than the thought of going home, and few things that hurt more than being without one. All of us understand that, and that’s why we feel so supportive of missionaries and workers who strive to find housing for people who are homeless.
Sister Nena Heramil, M.M., is one of those missionaries. Her ministry in Panama is “Social Action,” and her projects include helping to bring health care and food to people in need. But one of her most important activities is helping families who have no permanent homes.
“They live close to the city garbage dump,” Sister Nena says of the people she works among. “Most are indigenous and have settled as squatters in search of a better life. Instead they have found poverty, disease, unemployment, and lack of education.”
Many entire families live under these conditions, vulnerable to malnutrition, diseases and parasites, crime, alcoholism and drug abuse. Their children grow up without education or opportunity.
Sister Nena and her teammates visit these families to identify those most in need of help. The Maryknoll Sisters have an active presence in Panama and, thanks to the generosity of supporters like you, they are able to offer help where the civil authorities are not.
And help they do. Since the beginning of Sister Nena’s housing project, more than 30 families have been moved from the squatters’ camps and shantytowns into new housing. But there is more to battling the crisis of homelessness than just putting a roof over people’s heads. To prevent the cycle from simply starting over again, they need to have marketable skills and a way to make a living.
Sister Nena and her team have begun holding classes to teach these women to make arts and crafts items that they can sell locally. Panama is a country that has had many challenges in the past and the present, but a great deal of potential for the future. With your help, Sister Nena and those she works with can help the people move ever closer to that potential. It’s always worth a reminder that a dollar stretches much further in developing countries like Panama than it does here, so the gift you give will make more of a difference than you might expect!
We are in the season of Lent, and will soon celebrate Easter, the great feast of our salvation! For a special card with an Easter quote from our foundress, Mother Mary Joseph, and a scripture Passage click here. The card can be used for your family dinner table on Easter Sunday. Please display it as we celebrate the victory of life!