To celebrate the Feast of the Ascension, a group of Stewards of Saint Peter, prospective Stewards and young adults joined me on a Papal Foundation Mission Experience at Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in Mexico City and to Chalco, Mexico, to visit the Villa de las Ninas (Girlstown).

Monsignor Aloysious Schwartz founded the Girlstown and Boystown communities to serve the poorest of the poor around the world. To help serve poor children, ‘Padre Al’ started the religious congregation of the Sisters of Mary on August 15, 1964. The Sisters of Mary now serve over 20,000 children worldwide in 7 countries.

On May 20 we made our way to the world famous Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe which included a visit to the Carmelite Sisters at the top of Tepeyac Hill. The apparitions and image of Our Lady had appeared to St. Juan Diego in 1531.

Following our visit with one of the Cloistered Carmelite Sisters on the top of Tepeyac Hill and with Girlstown Chaplain Fr. Dan Leary, Fr. Dan led us in a beautiful healing service with some of the students in Chalco.

At Our Lady of Guadalupe, Stewards of St. Peter Donna and Bill Bradt and Eduardo Verastegui shared time together following our Mass at St. Joseph’s Chapel.

On returning from the Shrine, young ladies from Central and North America resumed their new friendships.

Venerable Alysious Shwartz’s vision was that the best way to break the poverty cycle was active participation in the best schoolwork, sport and activities. These complement their learning of skills to make them employable.

The Handball Team of Chalco celebrates their gold medal at a national Handball championship.

Following Mass, Steward of St. Peter Eduardo Verastegui encouraged the 3000 children of Girlstown to hold up and pray their Rosaries as their strongest protection from all harm!

Papal Foundation Grants have included a computer lab in Girlstown, Mexico. Here joining one of the students and the Religious Superior of the Community, Sister Marth are Donna and Bill Bradt.

The new “Fully Alive Arts Center” is to be dedicated on June 29, 2023.The Center has been funded by generous Stewards of St. Peter.

Some of the Sisters of Mary hold up their ‘sign’ of prayer support for all the Stewards of St. Peter and your families.

Some last goodbyes with the Sisters and staff before we headed home on Monday, May 22. Our hosts: Sr. Marilyn and Superior of the Community, Sr. Martha joined us. It was a blessing to travel with my daughters from left: Monica: Gianna and Elena.

Thank you for your ongoing prayers for the children of Girlstown and Boystown. Girlstown of Tanzania, Africa is now open and its counterpart of Boystown, Tanzia will open in September 2023.

“Making the trip to Our Lady of Guadalupe and to Villa de las Niñas was really a grace! Our Lady’s message is ever true for our time….Turn to God and stay close to Jesus and Mary. And the work of Venerable Father All Schwartz, with the Girls and Boys Towns, is truly remarkable to see how poverty cycles can be broken and lives improved forever. If you can ever get a chance to make the family mission trip with The Papal Foundation, we really encourage you, ‘Go’”

– Bill Bradt

Finally, there will be a Women’s Pilgrimage and Retreat at Girlstown in Chalco, Mexico, Thursday, November 9th – Monday, November 13th, 2023.

The Retreat will be led by Father Dan Leary, Chaplain. Here’s an invitation.