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Under Her Mantle, a Mission of Mercy
U. S. A. | APOSTOLATE | NEWS
A new apostolate founded by Eduardo Verastegui launches special missions in Mexico under the protection of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Eduardo Verástegui and missionaries gather around a local woman from Jonotla.
Eduardo Verástegui and missionaries gather around a local woman from Jonotla.

Jonotla, Mexico. September 3, 2008. From July 1st to 7th, some 40 young men and women from all over the United States, Mexico, and Canada descended on a remote town in the mountains of East Central Mexico, hammers in hand, to take part in the 2nd Manto de Guadalupe Humanitarian Mission.

Manto de Guadalupe was  founded on December 9, 2005 by actor and producer (Bella; Metanoia Films 2006) Eduardo Verástegui. The name means “Mantle of Guadalupe,” referring to Our Lady of Guadalupe’s promise to Juan Diego that she would keep and protect him under her motherly mantle.

True to its name, the non-profit Manto de Guadalupe Foundation is on a mission of mercy with two main goals: to help provide housing to poor families in Mexico, and to help women with crisis pregnancies.

During their week of labors on this second mission sponsored by Manto de Guadalupe, the team of 40
Logo Manto de Guadalupe
missionaries built simple houses, repaired roofs, and laid cement floors.

The mission began with Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.

It ended at her feet once again, at the shrine of “La Virgen del Penón,” which is a church built high on the rocky face of a mountain where Our Lady appeared to a small boy in 1922, leaving an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the rock.

A Place of Humble Faith

The towns chosen for missions are selected based on their degree of need. Jonotla, with its run-down houses and extreme poverty, was sorely in need. But Jonotla also enriched the missionaries with its witness of simple faith.

Kim Piotruchowski, a missionary from Michigan, was struck by a story told by Fr Juan Gabriel Guerra, the Legionary chaplain who accompanied them.  A Mexican man was trying to revive a dying cactus and he saw
Fr Juan Gabriel Guerra, LC
Fr Juan Gabriel Guerra, LC, motivates the missionaries to live out their mission under Our Lady’s protection.
Father standing nearby.

“Father, would you bless the cactus with holy water?” he asked.  According to that man, God was all that the cactus needed; God would take care of everything. 

Like many of the poor in Mexico’s rural towns, Jonotla’s simple people live out a true reliance on God as their sustainer and provider. It is as natural as breathing for them to start a sentence with “Gracias a Dios” (thanks be to God) or “Dios mediante” (God willing). 

The material poverty was extreme—but what struck the missionaries most was the deep and living faith of the people, along with their strong sense of family and community.

“They depend on each other for survival, but they also received us, total strangers, with gratitude and love,” said Jenny Allen, a missionary.

Another missionary, Andrew Darlington was moved by the number of people who told him he was “a gift from God.”  Afterwards, he
Missionaries revving up for another day of manual labor.
Missionaries revving up for another day of manual labor.
wondered: how different would our lives be if we looked at others as gifts from God and ourselves as gifts for others?

“Often we think we’re called to share with others our experience of faith, of life, of understanding,” said Jenny Allen. “But I learned that it’s not about us.  It’s about the needs and situation of the person or persons in front of us. That is what we are called to respond to; that is the missionary call to all of us.”

“Christ calls us to be missionaries at home, every day, in our personal and specific circumstances; missionaries who respond to the needs of others around them.” 

For more information about Manto de Guadalupe, visit the Spanish-language web site at www.mantodeguadalupe.com or visit the English-language web site of Eduardo Verástegui.


PUBLICATION DATE: 2008-09-17


 
 

Related links

Altius Foundation
Catholic World Mission
Helping Hands Medical Missions
St Rafael Guizar y Valencia Missionary Center


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Sponsored by the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, Copyright 2011, Legion of Christ. All rights reserved.


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