By Wanda Fedora
Fatima House , Honduras
After 3 years of Covid reduced travel Father Norman MacPhee and I finally returned to Tegucigalpa, Honduras and our friends, the Carmelite sisters. The projects are doing well and our friends are busier than ever.
For those of you not familiar with the projects, allow me to give you some background. 21 years ago Fatima House opened as a boarding school for girls at high risk of exploitation. Girls from the outlying hillside villages that would someday come to the city looking for work but with no skills they would be victimized. The sisters opened their arms to the girls; providing education and love. I was able to be there the day the first 20 girls moved in, some as young as 5 years of age. It was amazing. 21 years later some of those girls are now teachers, nurses, secretaries and Moms.
Today 41 girls greeted us with plans for their futures. The sisters have also opened the school to children from the surrounding area and their tuition helps to keep the school sustainable. One obvious difference after 3 years was that the students range mostly from 10 to 18 because they are staying to complete their education and not leaving once they learn to read and write. This is the comfortable level of students that the sisters can accommodate financially. The generosity of so many of you has made the difference in the lives of these young women so many kilometers away.
God Bless You.
Students receive lessons in oral hygiene and new toothbrushes.
Perhaps a future dental hygenist?
Homes for Families , Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Recently Father Norman MacPhee and I visited the “Homes for Families” Housing Project created by the Carmelite sisters in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The sisters had been building a couple of homes a year but decided they wanted to embark on a community project where families could raise their children in a safe environment. With an ambitious plan to build 100 homes, a church, and a hall, in a gated community they started fund raising. After years of obstacles and determination the first 50 homes opened in July 2022.
The families came from shacks tied together from discarded wood and metal. They didn’t have plumbing and their environment wasn’t safe. The sisters had the unenviable task of selecting 50 families from the many that hoped to move to their new cassitas. We were humbled by the amazing community they have created. It was heart warming to see the children playing soccer after school without the danger of crime or traffic.
The sisters have dedicated their lives to providing a safe and spiritual community for the children to thrive. The church built on the property is a gathering place to bring families together. The sisters formed a children’s choir and during Mass they entertained us with songs while their proud parents looked on.
The original plan included 100 homes and the construction has begun to complete that dream. Thanks to the generosity of so many of you we have been able to assist in making the dreams of the sisters and the families a reality.
Pictured here are the families of Homes for Families; Fr. Norman; the children’s choir; and the Family Community Church
Cooperativa Sagrada Familia
Three priests from the Diocese of Antigonish; Father Joe Muise, Father Norman MacPhee, and Father Bernie MacAdam formed a credit union with 10 local young men in Tegucigalpa in Sagrada Familia Parish on Feb. 25, 1969. Their model was based on the Coady Institute in Antigonish.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Credit Union a new building was constructed and three board rooms were designed and dedicated to the three Founders. The Credit Union today is Central America’s biggest financial success story. From those first 3 priests’ accounts there are now 294,792 members with over $232 million in assets. Just as impressive is the continued dedication to the core values of the credit union movement; giving back to the community. The 14 locations hold events yearly to support the local members.
Each time Father MacPhee or Father MacAdam visit the Cooperativa they are welcomed with enthusiasm and respect. The President and department chairs as well as all available staff join in a welcome and presentation. They love to take photos to honor the Founders. The Diocese of Antigonish and the Coady Institute have left a legacy of for the future of Honduras.