Roxanne and Stephanie 1999 - 2014


Roxanne sought shelter at the Refuge in 1999 when she found that she was pregnant as a result of incest. She stayed at the Refuge for a year after her daughter, Stephanie, was born. Roxanne worked hard at school and in the vocation classes. After leaving the Refuge, she found a job and was able to support herself and her daughter.  At the age of three, after an illness, Stephanie became almost blind. At six, she began to have epileptic seizures. After a particularly violent seizure, Stephanie suffered irreversible cognitive damages that left her with the mind and abilities of a three-year-old.


Roxanne had married when Stephanie was six. She and her husband did not want to have another child. One day, Roxanne, who played soccer for recreation, experienced stomachaches after a series of games. She suspected that she might have a cyst. Her doctor informed her that the cyst had a little head, hands, and feet.


Roxanne was devastated about the unexpected pregnancy. When she went home that day, she sat beside Stephanie’s bed. How she loved to see her daughter curled up asleep. Stephanie opened her eyes and said, “Mommy sad,” then reached out to tenderly pat Rosanne’s stomach. “Mommy baby.” Roxanne was surprised, she had not told Stephanie about the new baby and the pregnancy was not yet apparent.


Roxanne’s second daughter, Antonia, was born several months later, immediately much loved by Roxanne and Stephanie. When Antonia was four, she heard from the neighbor children that Stephanie’s father was not the same as her own. Antonia asked her older sister, “Stephie, who is your daddy?”


Stephanie replied, “Papa God.”


After Stephanie experienced another particularly strong seizure, Roxanne’s husband decided he could not take the stress of her illness. He decided to leave his family.

 Not long after, Stephanie said to Roxanne, “Mommy, I go live with Papa God. Stephie be okay. Mommy not be sad. Antonia take care of Mommy.”

 “But Stephie, I do not want you to go.”

 “I not go now. I go soon, Mommy not be sad. Stephie be okay.”




  Roxana  yvette 2011     

Sr Yvette and Roxanna 2011    





In a conversation about Stephanie, Roxanne described to Sister Yvette what it meant to her to have Stephanie in her life. “When I was little, I was sexually abused by my father and I always felt alone, helpless, and afraid. When I became pregnant, I ran away. A friend told me about the Refuge. I knocked on the door and the sisters welcomed me. When my daughter Stephanie was born, I no longer was alone. I no longer felt helpless, and I was no longer afraid. I learned many things at the Refuge. If I had not been able to come here, how different my life would have been.”

 Stephanie still lives with her mother, Roxanne, and her sister Antonia, who love her dearly. Stephanie’s doctor believes that she will not live beyond sixteen. But Roxanne, who is well able to protect and care for her two daughters, hopes to have the gift of Stephanie’s presence in their lives for much longer.

 The two girls and Roxanne are proof of the blessing of the Refuge, and their example offers hope to other young mothers who are learning to find strength in the face of hardship.





  Stephanie y hermana 


Stephanie and Antonia  


Stephanie is now in the hospital.  She is 15.  She has a respirator and still responds to the love of her faithful mom and loving sister.


Dear friends of the Refuge,

Stephanie is still with us, blessing Roxanne and her sister Antonia, as well as the many others who love her.  You have touched the lives of these girls in ways that neither you nor they will ever know. And I am ever mindful that I can only be a part of their lives because of you.



Thank you. You make a difference. And we are all witness to it.




Sr Yvette



In May of 2014 Roxanna wrote this note to me :

Sr Yvette  just want to thank you for your presence in my life and for giving me the tools to be a better person !! You are a wonderful person is very noticeable presence of God in everything you do and thank you so much love