Sister Community: Hogar Teresa Toda

Since 2002, St. Edward has supported Teresa Toda, a home for girls with difficult life experiences run by Carmelite Sisters in the Dominican Republic. During the school year, the girls live at the home, visiting their birth families monthly to maintain relationships with them and their neighborhood. During the summer, the girls left the home to return to their families. The Sisters found that this stay was too long for the girls. They would return with many poverty related maladies: malnourishment, skin diseases, sores and lost academic progress. So, the Sisters started “campamento” to check in with the girls mid-way through summer.  They get health checks and nutrition basics, but also Bible study and reflection, singing, dancing, crafts, math tutoring, exploring science, engineering, and health, and building community.

Mission Trips

Women and teens from St. Edward travel to the Dominican Republic to host campamento in person. Ten travelers each come for one week of the two-week camp. Girls ages 14-18 are able to participate with a parent chaperone, allowing for a wide variety of travelers over the years. Some participate to satisfy a sense of adventure. Some participate after a tragedy, like 9/11 affected them. Others come after a family member’s death. Students come to practice Spanish. Parents bring their high schoolers to experience another life together, one that is unimaginable here in Minnesota.

Everyone working on campamento, travelers or not, enjoy a different reward from the experience.

I see now why you return year after year…the smiles and friendships lure you back. The relationships with the girls far outweigh any lessons you would like to show them or teach them. The real lessons learned seem to be that our presence there – the proverbial gift of time and the gifts of our friendship – is needed and valued there the most. – Deb H.

Get Involved

This ministry is for all women called to become closer to God by sharing your gifts with beautiful children living in poverty in an international setting. From the first campamento, our goals have been:

  • To spend time with the girls
  • To create and maintain a lasting friendship
  • To develop the girls’ self esteem
  • To teach the girls English
  • To gain spiritual insight from the Sisters and the girls
  • To take a break from our usual routines

Guiding Principles

For all Catholic Sister Parish relationships, our five principles are:

  1. Emphasize relationship over resources
  2. Practice mutuality and equality
  3. Seek to give and receive, learn and teach
  4. Work to change unjust systems and structures
  5. Deepen our faith by experiencing the universal, catholic church