Today, all over the world the world, the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, together with so many people with whom we share our charism and mission, have celebrated Saint Raphaela Mary, a woman who dared to believe that a different world is possible, a more just and fraternal world.  Above all, she dared to experience in her own heart the passion which moves the Heart of God., who wants everyone to have life and to have it abundantly.  

Today  we have a double reason to celebrate, because today we also received our Bishop, Ricardo Morales’ ,  blessing of the Shelter For Migrants, named after Saint Raphaela Mary.  We sat around the table of the Eucharist with some of the migrants, who on their arrival in Tierra Amarilla, were welcomed into the shelter.   

We gratefully recalled the story of this shelter, remembering how between 2013 and 2014, we crafted a Project with the desire of giving a special welcome to women who were passing through, on their way to find temporary work in this area: our desire was to guide them professionally and humanly and also to offer them accommodation and food for a few nights. With the support of an Institution and some people who collaborated so generously in the construction and furnishing of the house, it was set up ready to accommodate 7 women.

At this moment in the story of humanity, it is by no means new to say that during the last few years, the levels of migration have soared.   Many people, parents of families have had to leave their countries  as a consequence  of extreme poverty, hoping to look for and to find a better quality of life and improved conditions for them and their families.  Copiapó and Tierra Amarilla have been no exception for the migrating peoples who arrive in Chile; this is a zone recognised as a transit  for the very many who, coming in from the North, make a short stop here to do some type of temporary work for the agricultural companies. Others, take a break after long days of travelling through the desert, putting up with very cold temperatures at night and extreme heat in the day.   Most times, they are also suffer hunger and are exposed to the danger of personal harassment.

This cruel and sad reality continues to challenge us and urges us to overturn our intitial intention for this Project.

Today we can take a step further in helping our migrant brothers and sisters. With the opening and blessing of the Saint Raphaela Mary Shelter our dream is to respond to the cry of this migrant phenomenon, offering the  welcome and hospitality that our brothers and sisters in a situation of mobility need.  We want this place to be a home for the very many who have left everything behind, who are tired after the long journey,  where they can stay and renew their strength to continue on their travels. Our desire is that, their having stayed here, will strengthen their spirit while they look for work that will allow them the dignity of paying rent for a room or a house for their families

We are both happy and grateful for the gift of Raphaela Mary. A woman who dared to believe that a different world was possible, a  more just, more fraternal and more humane world.  Above all, she to dared to experience in her heart the passion that moves the Heart of God so that all his children might enjoy, in justice, the gifts of creation. From today, may this Shelter that  bears the name of our Saint, be an image of a house with wide open doors, a home that accepts and embraces out migrant brothers and sisters just as they are. As daughters of Raphaela we want to accompany them in their lives and encourage them to have hope

We are grateful for the encouragement that our General Government has given us to recondition this house and to assure its functioning in a dignified way  for all those who pass through it.

Jimena Fuentes,aci