Thursday, September 23, 2010

Duluth's Blessed Nuno Society opens new orphanage in Mexico

Published/Last Modified on Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Blessed Nuno Society, Inc. opened their new orphanage, Our Lady Queen of the Angels House, in Agua Prieta, Sonora on Friday, September 10. The Blessed Nuno Society is a Catholic mission society headquartered Diocese of Duluth, with a mission office in Tucson.

Submitted photo Irma Villalobos de Teran, left, and Ivete Dagnino de Padres, right, cut the ribbon to open Our Lady Queen of Angels orphanage in Agua Prieta on September 10.

The newly constructed $676,000 children’s shelter includes a learning center with specialized facilities for basic tutoring, English classes, and computer skills. The orphanage also has its own small infirmary and a psychologist’s office, in addition to a nursery, chapel, kitchen and dining area. and four two-room dormitory suites.

Queen of Angels House opened with twenty-seven children. The orphanage will normally house about thirty-five boys and girls, but has the capacity to house up to seventy-two in the event of a local emergency. The orphanage is owned by the Society’s Mexican affiliate organization, Blessed Nuno Society de Mexico, A.C., and is being operated in cooperation with the Agua Prieta Municipal DIF (office of family services). Many of the children sheltered at Our Lady Queen of Angels House are victims of the chaos on the border which leads to family separations and parents dying in the desert. Some are victims of physical or sexual abuse or trafficking.

At the urging of Father James Crossman, the Society’s Spiritual Director, the Blessed Nuno Society began developing the plan to build the orphanage in December 2004. For more than five years the Society’s past president, Deacon Roger Birkland and Society Director Michael Morrissey promoted and led the effort to fund, construct, and furnish the orphanage. Construction was completed in December but it took another nine months to raise an additional $76,000 to furnish the facility, hire and train staff, and pass safety inspections. Funding for the project was provided by the Blessed Nuno Society members, especially three anonymous Duluth families, and with grants from the State of Sonora, the Mexican federal government and the Arizona Community Foundation. Ivete Dagnino de Padres, First Lady of the State of Sonora, and Tim Heinan, Executive Director of the Society, presided over the ribbon cutting and grand opening of the new orphanage on September 10.

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