A Guatemalan mother and daughter outside a home built from scraps of metal.
Milvia Usleni Escobar and her daughter, Eugenia, lived in substandard housing before Cross Catholic Outreach supporters intervened.

How a New Home Transformed One Guatemalan Mom’s Life

Uplifting a mother and her family after a baby is born is a powerful way to defend the life and dignity of the human person. That’s precisely what Cross Catholic Outreach supporters accomplished when they helped build a new home for Milvia Usleni Escobar and her 2-year-old daughter, Eugenia.

Milvia’s story is just one example of the many lives transformed in Guatemala through safe housing. During the Advent season, Catholic parishes across the U.S. linked arms with Cross Catholic Outreach and other faithful supporters, raising funds to build 107 safe, storm-resistant homes in Guatemala’s Diocese of Santa Rosa de Lima. The results are incredible, with 749 children and adults receiving the gift of a safe, sturdy home — tangible proof of God’s unending mercy and love.

RELATED: Our 2022 Vision to Relieve Poverty in Guatemala

A Guatemalan mother and daughter stand outside a concrete block home.
Milvia and Eugenia outside their new home.

A Guatemalan Mom Blessed With a New Home

The oldest of seven siblings, Milvia grew up in a loving, God-fearing family that was struggling to escape deep poverty. At age 14, she started working to support her family after her father became chronically ill. Her responsibility to her parents and younger brothers meant she had to do all her studying on Saturdays so she could spend the week chopping firewood for sale. This hardship meant her family couldn’t afford to keep up with home repairs, so their cramped living quarters became increasingly unsafe.

At 22, Milvia fell in love, and two years later, she became pregnant with Eugenia. Her world was turned upside down when the man she loved demanded she get an illegal abortion. Thankfully, Milvia chose life, despite knowing the many challenges she would face as a single mother.

Milvia raised Eugenia in her family’s crumbling house, but thanks to friends like you, this mother-daughter duo was recently able to move into a safe, sturdy home. Little Eugenia no longer has to breathe in smoke, thanks to their new clean-air stove; they no longer have to worry about their belongings being ruined by a leaky roof, either. These and many other blessings inspired Milvia to become more deeply involved in liturgical ministries, and she never stops thanking God or urging others to follow Jesus.

LEARN MORE: How Catholics Are Sharing Safe Shelter With the Poor

A Catholic bishop blesses a school.
Cross Catholic Outreach is involved in many programs in Santa Rosa. Here, Bishop José Cayetano Parra Novo (center) blesses the new Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Technological School, built through the generosity of our supporters.

How Cross Catholic Outreach Is Making a Difference in Santa Rosa

Cross Catholic Outreach is involved in multiple outreaches in the Diocese of Santa Rosa de Lima. Within the past year, our supporters have empowered multiple life-transforming programs:

  • HOUSING – Built 107 storm-resistant concrete homes, moving 749 people from three communities out of makeshift dwellings.
  • SPIRITUAL OUTREACH – Empowered all 21 parishes of the diocese to host retreats for 2,996 adult lay leaders and 2,025 catechists, as well as three youth retreats for approximately 450 children.
  • EDUCATION – Blessed 30 students with academic scholarships to attend a new Catholic school and also provided teacher and staff salaries, furnishings, and computers.
  • WATER – Quenched the thirst of 101 children by funding a clean water system at the school.
  • AGRICULTURE – Helped 1,982 people from 249 farming families on the path to economic independence with training and supplies to improve crop yields.
  • FOOD – Filled stomachs with more than 816,000 protein-rich meals, protecting children and vulnerable adults from malnutrition.

RELATED: Powdered Milk: A Lifesaver for Guatemala’s Malnourished Children

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A Guatemalan mother and two boys in front of a home under construction.
Milvia Fabiola and her sons during the construction of their home in Guatemala’s Diocese of Santa Rosa de Lima.

Get Involved in Transforming Lives in Guatemala

The challenges endured by Santa Rosa’s poorest families appear daunting — but we have a remarkable opportunity to bring them relief! Cross Catholic Outreach’s partnership with Caritas Santa Rosa is addressing poverty for the glory of Jesus Christ. This incredible ministry is devoted to promoting community transformation to relieve the burdens struggling families face, and with the support of friends like you, we can continue to lift up the poor in communities across Guatemala.

Cross Catholic Outreach unites the global Church by linking trusted in-country ministries with compassionate Catholics who want to stand in solidarity with the poor and vulnerable. Your generosity has the power to transform lives for generations to come!

Related: How Solar Farms Can Bring Clean Water to Rural Guatemala

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Proceeds from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures incurred through June 30, 2023, the close of our ministry’s fiscal year. In the event that more funds are raised than needed to fully fund the project, the excess funds, if any, will be used to meet the most urgent needs of the ministry.