Leading with Her Heart

Leading with Her Heart

As he leaves home to go to his “Special Families” job, a young man receives a loving send off from his mother.

Twenty-one years ago, when Sister Rebecca Trujillo began “Special Families of St. Julie Billiart” in Matagalpa, the goal was to create a place where mothers and their special-needs
children could come together with other mothers to receive basic services.

At first, the violence wasn’t that clear.

So Sister Rebecca’s first priority was to let the mothers know that they were not alone, to build hope so that they could share their needs. She worked with the mothers to set up the framework to provide educational programs and basic services for the children, and to help the mothers learn how to support one another—to reassure them they weren’t alone.

Since then, “Special Families” has grown into an integrated ministry, with a far-reaching menu of programs for health, nutrition, education, social integration, protection of the natural environment, recreation and spiritual growth. “Special Families” even has micro businesses where mothers and persons with disabilities earn a living.

While “Special Families” has been a safe haven and place of hope for Matagalpan families, Sister Rebecca’s work during the next three years is designed to be a still more powerful instrument of change.

She and her colleagues at “Special Families” are introducing an initiative to tackle the alarming increase of violence, especially directed toward the most vulnerable people with a disability. Their aim is to expose the victimization and take steps to prevent it through awareness of the person with a disability. 

We recently talked with Sister Rebecca about this important new turn in her Notre Dame ministry. Read the full conversation with Sister Rebecca Trujillo in the Summer 2017 issue of Cross Currents