News Archive

Here’s what’s happening around the world in the area of child welfare and protection.

October 31, 2023

A celebration of the journey to family care: Catholic women religious gather in Guatemala and share their journey of transformation

By Sully Santos and Kelley Bunkers



August 7th-9th, 2023, Changing the Way We Care in Guatemala organized a regional event that brought together leaders and representatives of Catholic congregations from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Peru, in Antigua, Guatemala. The three-day event was attended by 29 Catholic sisters belonging to nine different congregations and a representative of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos in Guatemala, a Catholic provider of residential care.

The convening was designed to create a space of trust and mutual collaboration where participants could share, discuss, reflect, and learn from one another whilst gaining useful insight into the transformation process. Each participant was at a different place in their transformation journey, from just considering it to completing the process. Yet everyone in attendance expressed a commitment to practicing their faith through the care of children, but wanting to do so in a manner that promotes family care over residential care. Sessions were participatory and allowed representatives from different congregations to share their experiences with others, highlighting similarities and unique differences.

Several presenters acknowledged the importance of physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being for children that is ideally cultivated within a family. At the same time noting that many of the participants shared their own emotional journey involved as part of the transformation process. Presenters from Peru and Mexico were especially articulate about their own emotions related to the process and encouraged others to make space for that element and ensure that there was support from their congregation or community to acknowledge the emotional of what is often considered an administrative or logistical process. Presenters from Guatemala and Peru highlighted the importance of adapting and evolving services according to the changing needs of the families and communities they serve.

After what I have seen, I would not go back to caring for children in an institution. I would rather hike up and down a mountain several times. I have witnessed that being in a family is the best place for a child. A family is always a family.
Sister from Peru


The meeting allowed participants to review, input into and validate drafts of a transformation roadmap (pathway) and accompanying guide specifically designed for Catholic providers of residential care.  Their useful contributions will be reflected in a final package of documents to be disseminated to other Catholic care providers in Latin America and beyond. This package will include the roadmap and guide for Catholic congregations as well as a roadmap and guide designed for individuals or organizations technically accompanying Catholic actors in the transformation process. These documents will serve as an invaluable resource for future efforts in the transformation of residential care into models that strengthen family care and community development. It reflects the reality of a transformation process informed by those who have experienced it directly which bring a richness and validity to what can often be a complicated process. A webinar will be organized for the launch of this package and is scheduled to occur in autumn of this year.

For more information on the transformation process completed by the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd in Mexico, accompanied by CTTWC, please see:

Walking at the Speed of Trust

The Transformation Process of Casa Eudes of the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

A Story of Transition of the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd in Tijuana, Mexico