Originally from Ireland, Columban Fr. Sean Coyle is now living and working in the Philippines. His work with the girls at the Holy Family Home inspires me on a daily basis. The Holy Family Home houses between 40 and 50 girls, some as young as four, some in their early 20s, at any given time. Most of the girls have been abused, though some come simply from a background of poverty. Fr. Sean recently wrote to me about Holy Family Home:
At first I used to visit once or twice a month, usually on a Sunday afternoon, sometimes bringing treats from a doughnut store. Then I found myself celebrating Mass fairly regularly until finally I did so almost every Sunday and on special occasions.
I hardly ever ask a girl about her situation. They get professional care for that. Sometimes one of them tells me that she has a court hearing coming up and asks me to pray for her. I get angry when I learn that a hearing has been postponed, as so often happens, because one or other lawyer or the judge hasn’t turned up. I see this as a continuation of the abuse.
The girls know that I’m aware of their background as I often refer to it in my homilies. I’m aware too that for some, when they eventually leave Holy Family Home, it’s not a question of “and she lived happily ever after!” But I see so many who have been healed, who have learned to forgive, who have lived in a loving environment, who have been enabled to go to school when otherwise they would never have the chance.
When Columban Fr. Michael Sinnott was kidnapped in 2009, I asked the girls to pray especially for him. They prayed their hearts out and jumped with joy when they heard of his release. One of them came over to me and said, “We are the miracle girls!” Indeed they are miracle girls. The miracle girls have brought great joy into my life, the kind of joy I imagine a father or grandfather has.
Your gifts are truly a miracle for the girls at the Holy Family Home. Thank you for partnering with us and making our work possible.