About 'Special Families of St. Julie Billiart'

About 'Special Families of St. Julie Billiart'

Two mothers earn a living wage making tortillas for the “Special Families” Café.

It was 21 years ago when the Bishop of Matagalpa asked our Sister Rebecca Trujillo to a meeting in his office. He wanted to discuss ways to help families in the diocese who were struggling with the challenges of raising children with special needs.

In Matagalpa, Nicaragua’s fourth largest city, more than 10 percent of children have disabilities. Their care falls largely to the mothers, which means the women are often isolated. As Sister Rebecca walked home from the meeting, she was so focused on the Bishop’s request she lost her way.She thought, “How can I possibly help the families when I can’t even find my way home?” A kind woman noticed the bewildered Sister Rebecca and offered her a glass of water and a cool place to sit for a moment.

An Accidental Meeting
Sister took her up on the offerand began talking about the Bishop’s request. As it turned out,this complete stranger, Marlene Hernandez, was the mother of a daughter with multiple disabilities.She knew all too well of the difficulties families face, and she volunteered on the spot to help Sister Rebecca build a working group to help.The two started in the barrios of Matagalpa, visiting families who had children with disabilities. They listened to the mothers as they spoke of feeling isolated. Then things began to happen. Lives began to change and “Special Families of Saint Julie Billiart” took root.

Read more about "Special Families of Saint Julie Billiart" in the Summer 2017 issue of Cross Currents