• September 14, 2008

A new Heart’s Home in Chile!

Heart’s Home recently opened a new center in a deprived area of Valparaiso, Chile. Located in the dis­trict of Playa Ancha, the Heart’s Home center is run by a team of three mis­sion­aries from France and Argentina. Here’s how their mis­sion started:

“We have started to travel through the dis­trict. This one is very lively, with many chil­dren playing in the street or in inflat­able swim­ming pools in front of their homes. We have made the acquain­tance of the “pescadores”, a group of middle-aged alco­holics who gather every day and drink at the end of our street.

We also see young people demanding a toll from pas­senger vehi­cles in exchange for a promise to leave them alone. Others, walk back and forth in a hurry with dubious cargo. There are still about ten evan­gel­ical churches com­pared to just one Catholic chapel which does not have a real pres­ence. The chapel at our Heart’s Home will thus be the only place offering a Eucharistic Presence.

The dis­trict’s chapel is located in a place that is quite dif­fi­cult for the elderly or the many infirm of the area to access. Indeed, it is nec­es­sary to climb a steep and seem­ingly end­less stair­case, as there are many on the hill­sides of Playa Ancha. At night this chapel is trans­formed into a meeting place for young people gath­ering to use drugs, which are quite easy to obtain in the neigh­bor­hood.

These days, Odette and Erica (mem­bers of the chapel) intro­duce us to var­ious people whom they no longer have any time to visit, in par­tic­ular the ailing and the elderly.

The first person that we met was Margarita, our neighbor from across the street who has eight chil­dren and numerous grand­chil­dren, many of whom share her three-room house. We also met Teresita and her hus­band Jaime who live two houses down from ours. Teresita has suf­fered for five years from arthrosis, which forces her to remain con­fined to her bed. Her hus­band takes care of her and also of their son who suf­fers from mental prob­lems; he is very aggres­sive and scares off the neigh­bors who do not dare to visit Teresita any­more.

We also have made the acquain­tance of the family of Claudia, who at 34 is a victim of breast cancer; she has six chil­dren from sev­eral men. Her daugh­ters Claudia and Talia, who are 12 and 11 years old, guide us during our visits, intro­ducing us to the neigh­bor­hood and to some of their friends. Sometimes we are also joined by Pato and Noelia, the two youngest sib­lings. Among so many others, these three fam­i­lies have par­tic­u­larly touched us.

This is how we have begun our “misión”!”

Vincent, Heart’s Home missionary in Valparaiso, Chile

Back to top