Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Mary Teresa Bettag traveled with St. Francis Parish, Yuma, Arizona, to San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico to help at an orphanage recently.  Photos are courtesy of Fr. Emilio Chapa, pastor.

I had the opportunity to go on Monday to San Luis, Mexico with Fr. Emilio Chapa and three gentlemen from St. Francis of Assisi parish here in Yuma. We were making two stops:

Our first stop was to the parish of San Francisco de Asís y San Felipe de Jesús, a poor parish in a poor part of the city that St. Francis parish in Yuma has adopted. In the last three years they have transformed the open-air, cinder-block-built, dirt-floored church into a tile-floored, tin-roofed, plaster-walled church. They are currently working on getting air-conditioning installed for the stifling summer days. The pastor, Fr. Angel, and the secretary, Imelda, were so welcoming to us, and clearly very appreciative of all that Fr. Emilio and the parishioners of St. Francis had done, and were continuing to do. In fact, Fr. Emilio was planning to return the next day to deliver a truck load of desks from the school to be used in their currently bare religious education classrooms.

From there we went to the Casa-Hogar de Niñas Santa Maria de Guadalupe. It is an orphanage for girls run by three Sisters. Currently there are 34 girls and one boy ages 0-17 who live there. We had a trunk full of food stuffs to help supply the Sisters, who struggle to receive enough donations of food and personal care items to keep all the bellies full and all the children clean. Yet you would never know from the cheerfulness of the Sisters, or the joy of the children.

In fact, this was by far the best part of the whole day! It made my day to be with them. The girls were so quick to give hugs, and so eager to be noticed. My minimal Spanish was good enough for them – we had so much fun together. The littlest things meant the most to them. They are a treasure!

That about sums up our day, aside from a stop for tacos, and the border crossings we made.