2010 - Feb 27: Earthquake Strikes the Refuge

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An 8.8 earthquake struck the Refuge of Mercy in Santiago, Chile, causing damage to the building where the young mothers live with their infant. A 200-foot section of a wall that separates the Refuge from the street collapsed. Cracks appeared in the lovely old chapel and its bell tower. The quake broke windows and tossed dishes and glassware throughout the living quarters. Aftershocks threaten to topple the tower. The Sisters, the young mothers, and the infants were shaken but unharmed.

An 8.8 earthquake struck the Refuge of Mercy in Santiago, Chile, causing damage to the building where the young mothers live with their infant. A 200-foot section of a wall that separates the Refuge from the street collapsed. Cracks appeared in the lovely old chapel and its bell tower. The quake broke windows and tossed dishes and glassware throughout the living quarters. Aftershocks threaten to topple the tower. The Sisters, the young mothers, and the infants were shaken but unharmed.

Sister Mari Ferias, the Refuge director, quickly sent reassurances to friends of the Refuge in the United States that all of the residents are safe. She said that they felt God’s protection during the quake. Tremors still rattle the buildings. Temporary repairs are underway, including tarps to keep rain out of the living quarters and a makeshift fence to close the damaged outer wall.

 

Life goes on at the refuge but, not as usual. As always, the Sisters and the staff bring motherly comfort to the girls who in turn comfort their own child and each other, but the ongoing tremors keep everyone alert and fearful. The new mothers head out as usual to school and to job skills workshops, and they are as determined as ever to build a new future for themselves and their child. Though life is not like it was before the quake, they are adjusting. The future is uncertain for these young girls and the earthquake was a powerful reminder of their vulnerability.

 

Sister Mari tells of her pride in the people of Chile who are united in their desire to help each other recover from the damage done to their beautiful country. As she views the destruction throughout Chile, she is thankful that more lives were not lost. She spoke with board members, expressing her thanks for the Merciful Love Connection support “especially at a time when the government of Chile is trying so desperately to help those who need help more than we do.” Already, unsolicited donations have been received, enabling the Merciful Love Connection to send $1,000.00 for emergency wall repairs. The Sisters and the young mothers are courageous; their work endures. We feel blessed to be a part it.  If you would like to help repair the earthquake damage, donations are most welcome.