Category Archives: Education

Current DC ministries – Proyecto Juan Diego, Brownsville, TX

Sister Phylis Peters, founder and director of Proyecto Juan Diego (image courtesy of Proyecto Juan Diego)

Sister Phylis Peters, founder and director of Proyecto Juan Diego (image courtesy of Proyecto Juan Diego)











Proyecto Juan Diego, a nonprofit organization, was established in 2003 by Sister Phylis Peters. Its mission is to educate and empower low-income families to make healthy choices and become socially responsible members of society. This is done through various programs that promote healthcare, families, education, social and civic engagement.

Proyecto Juan Diego is located in Cameron Park, a “colonia” (unincorporated town) located near Brownsville, Texas.
This border city, located along the Rio Grande River, has served as a continuous migration route for the poor of Mexico, Central and South America.

Demographics and economics of Cameron Park include:

  • the population is 99.3% Hispanic
  • only 19.3% have graduated from high school
  • 58% live below the poverty level
  • 63% of children live below the poverty level; more than half of them will drop out
  • the average per capita income is $4,103 – that’s less than Mexico, El Salvador or Guatemala
  • the average family size is 4.8; most live in trailers or small homes
  • 53.5% unemployment rate
  • poorest community of its size (or larger) in the United States
  • #39 of the The Top 100 Poorest Places in the United States

One of the oldest and most successful programs at Proyecto Juan Diego has been the family program. Staff and trained volunteers make regular home visits and assist families for an extended period of time to help meet their health and social needs with the goal of improved outcomes for children and families. the home visitors serve as a link between the family and the services available through Proyecto Juan Diego, government programs and other resources.

Other programs include after-school tutoring, health screenings, citizenship classes, English as a Second Language classes, and stress management activities.

Although Proyecto Juan Diego serves families of all faiths, some Catholic programs, such as a summer Bible program, are offered in partnership with San Felipe de Jesus Church. The parish is located a few blocks from the center.

Residents and community leaders have also advocated for better public safety in Cameron Park. Street lights have been installed throughout the neighborhood, more roads have been paved and there is increased presence of law enforcement. Voter turnout has also increased by almost 20 percent, thanks to several outreach programs.

Leave a comment

Filed under Education, Health Care, Ministries, Social Work

National Catholic Sisters Week – Sister Agnes Power

Sister Agnes Power (used with permission of the Provincial Archives)

Sister Agnes Power (used with permission of the Provincial Archives)

Sister Agnes Power spent many years in San Antonio, TX, where she taught Graduate Equivalency Diploma (GED), English as a Second Language (ESL) and Adult Basic Education (ABE) classes. Below are some of Sister Agnes’ recollections of her ministry, written to the people of St. Leo’s Parish in San Antonio.

It was August 19, 1959, a long time ago, that a Missouri Pacific Train brought me to San Antonio. I knocked on your doors. You opened them with genuine Texas hospitality. You introduced me to your children and grand children. We talked about many things. When it was hot, you offered me a glass of iced tea or lemonade. You gave me roses from your front yard. I thank you for you graciousness.

Then came September and on came the children – busloads of them. Four afternoons and on Saturday morning, the buses came to St. Leo’s School.

There’s another group of people I can’t forget, the men and women who came to the top floor of 4401 S. Flores. They came for the morning and evenings classes in adult basic education. We struggled with commas and periods and how to write an essay. We learned how to add fractions and how to do percentage problems. The Holy Spirit must have been around because I saw many of you in cap and gowns receive your GED diploma. I was proud and so were you – and rightly so.

Leave a comment

Filed under Education, Ministries

National Catholic Schools Week – Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill

Sr Francis Mary directing flutophoneband (SC Seton Hill)

For National Catholic Schools Week, another great image from Sister Louise Grundish, S.C., archivist for the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill. Sister Francis Mary Coleman directs the fluteophone band during Western Frolics at St Peter and Paul School, Tucson, AZ, 1965.

1 Comment

Filed under Education, Ministries, Sisters of Charity Federation, Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill