2008: A Young Volunteer & Her Mother

Bob Laing pictures 08 chile 31Before her twelfth birthday Catherine heard her mother talk about the Refuge. That year, she asked each of the friends who were invited to her birthday party to give a donation to the Merciful Love Connection instead of bringing birthday presents. For the next two years Catherine longed to go to Chile. When she was fourteen, her mother, Deborah, decided that the two of them would go together. Deborah would teach English as a second language, and Catherine hoped to befriend the girls, practice her Spanish, and work in the nursery. They could stay only ten days because Catherine had to return to school.


At the Refuge they saw construction begin on the apartment and computer room. Deborah taught three classes of English each day and Catherine cheerfully worked in the nursery. They also cleaned up debris from the construction, raked the lawn, and set up a stone ring around some of the trees. Catherine had a camera and took beautiful candid shots of the girls and of the Refuge itself.


The young mothers were interested in the way Deborah and Catherine treated each other so respectfu 8 Deborah 08 Chile 165lly and with the ease that stability and security can create. The interaction they observed inspired the young mothers to keep building strong bond with their child. Both Deborah and Catherine admired the way the young mothers helped each other and they became very close to the girls during their stay at the Refuge.


Bob Laing, a retired Boeing consultant, also accompanied us to the Refuge. He inspected the construction work on the refuge, befriended the young mothers, and encouraged the social worker and psychologist in their work. He purchased a language program titled  “Rosetta Stone” to help the young mothers learn English and he updated existing computer programs. It was hard for the volunteers to leave, but hope for the future is tangible at the refuge, and it lifted the spirits of Catherine, Deborah, and Bob just as it does the hearts and minds of the young mothers. 



Sr. Yvette Mallow, OSB