Meet Maritza - The Santa Maria Magdalena Home
“Santa Maria Magdalena’s home was born out of fruitful and intimate prayer time with the Lord. Jesus has pursued me and desired to heal my heart and my soul, as well as the hearts and souls of my children, after a lifetime of severe sexual and mental abuse and broken marriages, which left me a single mother of 4 children. I found in Jesus’s mercy and forgiveness the meaning of true love, a love that would last, a love that was unconditional!”
These are the words of Karen: a dear soul who now serves a community in need in Peru. The Lord has revealed to her uniquely through her own past trauma that she is to take part in a beautiful mission—restoring the dignity of poor, mistreated women and their children in Peru. This month, Rooted For Good will focus 10% of our sales in supporting the Santa Maria Magdalena Home. We have focused on the Magdalena Home once before last year, but this month we are partnering with them to support a specific woman by the name of Maritza.
THE STORY OF WOMEN IN PERU
Maritza’s story is similar to that of many women in Peru. She has four children: Nellie, Alexis, Alondra, and Snyder. She was beaten by her husband and thrown out of the house whenever she would speak up about her needs. When she asked for money to help support the kids, he would hit her. He refused to pay child support, leaving Maritza to raise, support and feed her children on her own. She would wake up between 2:00am - 4:00am every morning to prepare breakfast
and get the kids ready for school. She would have to walk them each to school and then bring them home for lunch. She would work while they ate lunch and then work again until about 4:00 - 5:00 pm in the afternoon.
Work for women in Maritza’s situation is never consistent. When she did find work, she would either plant corn for 50 soles a day (about $12.50 American Dollars); wash clothes for 20 soles (~$5); or pull weeds in a public park for 40 soles/day (~$10).
CULTURAL CHANGE NEEDED
You might ask, “if these women like Maritza are being so abused by their husbands/ex-husbands, why don’t they just leave?”
Unfortunately, marital abuse is endemic in Peru. There are many reasons (physical, emotional, psychological etc…) why a woman in Peru would “choose” to remain in an abusive relationship or refuse to pursue legal routes to get child support from her ex-husband:
- She thinks that violence is an expected part of marriage
- She believes that she can never separate or divorce because she is married in the church
- She believes that it is her fault, and she is ashamed to expose it
- Her family does not support her, or they tell her she has to put up with it
- She believes that she will not be able to support her family without his financial support
- Her relatives and friends notice it, but they say nothing
- She is unaware that she has rights and that she deserves respect and affection
- She is afraid to leave him because of threats to kill her or himself, take away children, or cut off economic support, etc.
- She is unaware of or does not trust the legal system and its response
- She believes that the children need their father
- She loves him and believes he will change
MARITZA GETS HELP
Karen met Maritza about 4-5 years ago and helped her build a single home that was safe where she could raise her kids. The Santa Maria Magdalena Home was not yet in existence. Because Maritza's ex-husband wouldn't pay child support, Karen began taking Maritza to court to fight for her legal rights. If it wasn't for Karen, Martiza wouldn't have had a way to get to the court house, or when meetings were virtual, she didn't have the proper technology to video call with the lawyers. Due to Karen's tireless effort, Maritza has finally begun receiving some child support from the children's father.
Maritza has been working at the Santa Maria Magdalena home helping Karen serve meals to the community who join for Adoration Nights every Thursday. She is also learning how to harvest coffee and cacao (which are grown naturally right on the grounds). Maritza will be moving into a small "personal" home at the Santa Maria Magdalena Home THIS December! (see photo...white house/red roof) The Santa Maria Magdalena home is in need of more funds to finish Martiza’s home and build 2-3 more small, personal homes like Maritza’s to serve more mothers and their children.
The idea behind these homes at Santa Maria Magdalena is not to be a shelter but to bring in a mom or two or three at a time. The mothers live there and Karen and the missionaries walk with them for at least a year. These women do not often come to the home, recognizing they are in an abusive relationship. But as they go through formation, enter into community living, and have a chance to rest, they slowly begin to recover and regain their dignity.
For every dollar you spend with Rooted this month, 10 cents of your purchase (and 100% of your tips!) will go toward finishing Martiza’s home as well as beginning to build homes for other women like her.
Please consider joining Rooted For Good in supporting this Maritza, her family, and this beautiful ministry!