From NPH International President, Fr. Phil Cleary
April 2, 2012 - NPH International
There was a big scandal in the U.S. involving a ring that abused deaf Mexicans and actually forced them into slavery, selling trinkets on the subways. I couldn’t help but think of one of our boys, Mario, as he could easily have been one of the victims.
After the death of his parents, Mario was “cared for” by relatives who abused him severely as their response to the frustrations caused to them because of his deafness. He was 11 when Mario was found wandering the streets of downtown Monterrey in the north of Mexico by a Red Cross volunteer, who channeled him to the government agency there in charge of orphaned and abandoned children. Mario was there for three years and began asking - insisting - that they do something for him since he saw so many other children come and go. He wanted to be adopted, too. Perhaps embarrassed because Mario would ask, “Why doesn’t anyone pick me?”, the home directors started looking for another place for him - but no other institution wanted him. Our university students there heard about him and we took him in.
Maestra Gloria and Mario practicing sign language.
This story is as much about his teacher, though, as it is about Mario. Maestra Gloria was our special education teacher at the time - and single-handedly did the best she could with a group of some 17 children of all ages, with all kinds of learning problems, including Mario. Gloria was a miracle worker. And so dedicated. For example... every Friday afternoon, Mario left with Maestra Gloria to go home with her to spend the weekend with her family. On Saturdays, the two of them went to class to learn sign language together. Then they practiced all weekend just by having to communicate in the normal routines of family life. On Mondays they were back at NPH. After school on weekdays Mario came to my office and tried to teach sign language to me (though I’m afraid with limited success).
In a most powerful section of the gospel, Jesus challenges his hearers…
“Go and tell them what you see and hear: that the blind see, the deaf hear and the good news is preached to the poor.” Mario was two out of three on that score… poor and deaf. He could well have ended up selling trinkets on the subway. But having been blessed by becoming a pequeño and blessed by his association with Maestra Gloria, Mario now has a second chance at life. A young boy, a “throw-away” and potential victim, has been given hope and new life. And isn’t that what this Easter season is all about?
Happy Easter to all and thanks for your support over the years of Mario and all his family of NPH. All of you, our donors and godparents, are the Maestra Gloria’s for our children... you give life and hope to poor, orphaned or abandoned children. You are in my prayers daily, for none of what we do for our children would be possible without what you do for our children!
Father Phil Cleary
President, NPH International