An oasis of love and tenderness, the Santa Lucia Children’s Home opens its doors and hearts to children in need. Rather than crowding children in dormitories or separating children by age—which inherently separates siblings—the children of Santa Lucia are placed in intimate home units where they live as a family as “brothers” and “sisters” under the care of a “housemother.”
The Melaleuca Foundation is the sole financial supporter of this special orphanage. With your generosity, children who have suffered the injustices of abuse, poverty, loss of family members, and more now have a safe, nurturing place to grow.
Providing Care During the Pandemic
Santa Lucia has continued to provide excellent care to the children despite the trials of the last two years. To this day, not a single child or staff member has contracted COVID-19. “Santa Lucia overcame all the challenges because of the Melaleuca Foundation,” says Sor Inés Calderón, head nun of Santa Lucia. Using funds provided by Melaleuca, Santa Lucia invested in more computers to accommodate virtual learning, increased healthy, fresh foods, provided individual transportation for children to avoid exposure to germs, and increased sanitization protocols.
“Despite the lockdown, our children expanded their academic studies,” Sor Inés explains. “We added piano and violin lessons for all the children, which they love. We also made sure the children could go outside and safely play in nature.
“During the days of the lockdown, we held each other a little tighter and focused on personal interaction and developmental activities. Our bonds were strengthened. And we prayed. Every day, the children prayed for the whole world and for Melaleuca.”
During this time, three new staff members joined Santa Lucia, and the children have benefitted from their nursing and education expertise. Likewise, every staff member became a teacher, helping school-age children with their studies. Not a single child fell behind in school.
Healing a Broken Home: Linda’s Story
Despite the pandemic, Santa Lucia has been able to fulfill its mission of caring for children and finding forever homes for them. Linda* is one such child.
When Linda first came to came to Santa Lucia, she appeared to be an infant of about eight months old. She was actually two years old. Sadly, malnourishment and abuse had stunted her growth both physically and emotionally. Her mother had fallen prey to drug abuse and became unable to provide a safe and stable home.
Initially reserved and anxious, little Linda began to blossom at Santa Lucia. Through the nurturing care of the nuns, medical professionals, social workers, and her housemother, Linda slowly came out of her shell and reached social and physical milestones.
Santa Lucia was able to identify and locate Linda’s father and determine that reuniting this broken family might be possible. Working with the courts and connecting the father with helpful resources, Santa Lucia has supported his journey through Alcoholics Anonymous. Today, he has been sober for years, has found a stable job, and is providing a safe place for his daughter.
Linda now lives full time with her father and her aunt. She has a loving relationship with her grandmother as well. Santa Lucia’s nuns and dedicated social worker regularly check on the family, providing the connection between this family and the court system. They happily report that Linda’s needs are being met and that she is as happy and cheerful as ever with her loving family!
Thank You from the Bottom of Our Hearts
The Santa Lucia Children’s Home is a haven for children in need. It provides loving care, education, and hope for a future these children would not otherwise have. Over the years, Santa Lucia has placed hundreds of children into forever homes. Many of those homes are still visited and supported by the nuns and professional staff.
This special haven for children is reliant on generous contributions from our donors. Because of ongoing challenges, rising prices, and the constant need for compassion and care, your donations today mean more than ever. Sor Inez is quick to express her gratitude to all who donate to the Melaleuca Foundation. “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” she says. “We are so grateful!”
*The names of minors have been changed for their privacy