St. Catherine's Mission
Basic Resources and Support
Once the hoped-for purchase and needed renovations to St. Catherine’s are complete, the ongoing functioning of the Mission will be made possible by an abundance of existing resources and support, community partnerships, and unique plans and programs for self-sustainability. One begins to see the hand of providence in the assets specifically catering to the needs of the Mission uniquely available to our children in Santa Fe.
As will become evident below, aside from the facility, a great many of the needs for the education and care of the children are without cost to St. Catherine’s or our clients.
St. Catherine’s itself is the first providentially well-suited resource. Once owned by St. Katharine Drexel herself for the service of underprivileged children, the beautiful and historic facility was designed precisely for the needs our children will also share. A spacious and semi-rural campus with 11 buildings, designed to house 230 residents, it includes dormitories, classrooms, art studios, trade workshops, athletic facilities, a cafeteria, etc. Sadly, it has sat vacant for many years. Our intent would simply be to return it to the joyful purpose it once served in our Santa Fe community.
Thanks to an extraordinarily generous donation of time and talent from the internationally renown architectural firm SCI Designs, the site plan for needed preservation and renovations to the property will be free of charge to the Mission. Click here to visit the SCI Designs website, and here for a complete preview of the St. Catherine's plan.
Please note: Santa Fe County Housing Authority, the current owner of the property, is not party to, nor does it specifically endorse the objectives of Familia Victricis in the purchase of St. Catherine's. No offer has been made, and at this time no agreement for purchase has been entered upon.
The purpose of this website is to inform potential partners, donors, and other interested parties of the developing plans in place if at some future date, through the intercession of Our Lady and St. Katharine Drexel, the original owner of the property whose intent was that it should always serve children in need, God should allow its acquisition by Familia Victricis. It is through sharing these plans that we hope to raise the funds to put forward an offer for its purchase or to otherwise enact our hopes to serve the needs of the children specified in this website. Please pray for us, and pray especially for the children we seek to serve!
K-12 College Preparatory Education
It is vitally important that the children of St. Catherine’s be prepared for any future they can envision for themselves, and a cornerstone of this preparation is a fully accredited college preparatory education. If St. Catherine’s were to seek to become a school itself at this level of accreditation, such an endeavor would take many years, and thus delay the rescue and assistance of children we could remove from dangerous circumstances much sooner. Fortunately, a wonderful opportunity is available to our students through the State of New Mexico’s online education programs.
These online academies are fully accredited K-12 programs that students can complete from any location, including St. Catherine’s. Graduation ensures a high school diploma acceptable to any college or institution. Our students would be supported by staff, much as parents support students who choose to attend these academies from home, assuring that work is completed and that any necessary assistance is provided. However, the instruction and grading responsibilities belong to the academy, not to St. Catherine's.
Again, much like in a family in which students attend an online academy, St. Catherine’s would provide a great deal of real-life learning outside the online program through our multitude of arts, sports, trade, entrepreneurship, culinary, technology, agricultural/equestrian and other programs, so that online attendance only forms part of a student’s day.
Of great relevance to the ongoing functioning of the Mission and its service to children, the full K-12 education of a student through these educational programs is at no cost to the student or the Mission.
Counseling and Trauma Treatment
It is to be expected that the populations of children served by St. Catherine’s have among the highest exposures to trauma and need for highly specialized treatment to best prepare them for a positive future. World-class trauma treatment for child victims of parental loss, war trauma, and sexual exploitation is available through specialized institutions and SOLACE Trauma Treatment Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Due to grant funding already in place, these services will be available free-of-charge to St. Catherine’s, and are of the caliber that one would travel almost anywhere worldwide to receive. Their presence in Santa Fe and generous willingness to work with our children is one of the "minor miracles" that affirms that New Mexico is the right place for our project.
The Archdiocese of Santa Fe, through St. Therese Clinic in partnership with Presbyterian Health, has entered into initial agreement with Familia Victricis to provide not only basic health coverage to our children through New Mexico's best hospital system, but also specialist care along with vision and dental coverage. The value of this commitment, at no cost to St. Catherine’s or our clients, is immeasurable, as we are certain that medical issues will accompany the psychological trauma our children will have experienced.
Additionally, we are in the process of investigating arrangements for on-site primary care.
Case Management and CYFD Support
Familia Victricis has entered into discussions with the New Mexico Department of Children, Youth, and Families, who have begun to emerge as another of our wonderful resource partners. CYFD will refer children to St. Catherine’s and provide case management services free of change. In addition, they will provide material support—from dietary funding to diapers for state charges in our care. Finally, they will assist with adoption facilitation for the infants from our late-term abortion intervention program, so that these arrangements are at no cost to St. Catherine’s.
Food and Clothing
A majority of our children will meet eligibility for the State of New Mexico’s Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food assistance program. With prudent management, supplemented with donations from emerging partnerships with local organic food growers, hunting donation, and our own agricultural, culinary arts, and baking programs, St. Catherine’s should be able to eat well and sustainably.
St. Catherine’s will seek partnerships with branded clothing providers that may wish the public goodwill of assisting us with school uniforms and athletic goods. We imagine that certain companies will be proud to say St. Catherine’s wears their brand of shoe, hoodie, backpack, etc. (Especially when our teams begin dominating the state in soccer, the favorite sport of many of our children from the Middle East, Africa, and Mexico/Latin America. Go St. Cat’s!)
Staffing from Catholic religious communities, including and beyond our own, has several advantages. The first is dedicated, experienced, and compassionate care providers and educators who share the values of the Mission. The second is a sense of continuity and comfort for those children who were previously persecuted for practice of their Catholic faith.
Additionally, members of Catholic religious communities generously serve under vows of poverty, and their meals, housing, and other needs can be provided by the Mission in our beautiful community environment.
Additional Volunteer Community Support
The city of Santa Fe, New Mexico itself is particularly supportive to immigrant and refugee issues, as well as compassionate to the plight of our own New Mexican children, whose care ranks low in the nation and whose tragedies often face us on the nightly local news.
Businesses and organizations ranging from trades providers, to cafeteria staff, to site security providers, to equestrian and other recreational therapy program providers, to sports coaching, to senior groups wanting to rock babies and interact with children have pledged donations of time and goods for our children’s various needs.
The veteran community has a special connection to Familia Victricis and regularly lends support. There is a beautiful reciprocity involved. Many veterans of recent wars suffer the trauma not only of combat experience but of the psychological wound of having promised continued American protection to villages, communities, and especially children in the countries where they served, and then ultimately being forced to violate their promise. The desire of veterans to provide for these children is immense.
For instance, Team Rubicon, a veteran's disaster relief and humanitarian organization, has agreed to make the improvement of our facilities a community project. Not only do they bring physical labor, but they have also agreed to donate materials and skilled expertise. This will reduce the cost of the restoration of our facilities before any move-in of children begins.
Cutting-Edge Resources and Support
The goal of St. Catherine’s is not only to provide for the basic support and educational needs of our children, but to give them a leading start on success and open to them the widest world of opportunity possible. We don’t simply want our children to survive but to thrive and become, as adults, a positive force in the world. To that end, we have truly exciting educational opportunities that are unavailable elsewhere. These, like the basic needs addressed above, are not only available at no cost to St. Catherine’s but bring funding to St. Catherine’s for its sustainability.
Our partnership with Community Learning Network, and the federal designation of Santa Fe as a "Tech Hire City," which was accomplished by one of our talented Familia Victricis members, opens the door to large-scale federal grant funding for our training programs to prepare students for high-demand, well-paying Technology careers. This amazing partnership is outlined here.
Because graduation from these technology training opportunities brings with it extremely high rates of immediate job placement with typical starting salaries in the range of $50,000, we realize we must do more to prepare our teens for the transition to this kind of success so early in their lives. Therefore, through generous and free-of-charge partnership with Homewise, our teens will be provided with extensive education on practical financial management and paths to responsible home ownership—making them expert in skills that young people often leave the foster system without, and even many experienced adults lack. In effect, this will translate into young home owners and vibrant new adult citizens in the Santa Fe community.
Navy National Defense Cadet Corps
St. Catherine’s has begun negotiations to host a NNDCC Unit, in which students would be presented with a course and active community service opportunities in American citizenship and constitutional understanding exceeding the standards taught at the university level at most institutions. For many students, the discipline and teamwork instilled in through a Cadet program is of lifelong benefit, especially for those whose early experiences deprived them of opportunities to experience the privilege of responsibility.
The Cadet Corps is not a military accession program and creates no military obligation for students. However, for interested students, the Cadet Corps provides a career pathway into Naval service with incentives of higher rank and pay, job security, and completely free educational options in highly specialized fields. From medical/dental careers, to culinary arts, to firefighting, to nuclear engineering, the adult opportunities which become available to St. Catherine’s students through this program are quite limitless.
The sustainment of St. Catherine’s is integrally tied to our educational and community-building activities. Our plans in this regard are extensive. For instance, the beautiful location of St. Catherine’s makes certain portions of the property ideal as an event space. Not only would the rental of the venue raise revenue for the Mission, but participants in our culinary arts and hospitality programs could assist in catering, which would additionally raise revenue and provide real-life experience to our learners.
Santa Fe is a world-renown arts community, where the highest level of theatrical and musical talents have volunteered to teach and assist our children. Again given the beautiful venue, we ourselves could be presenters of our own fundraising programs. Sales of goods from our bakery program would augment this income. Similarly, we would look for outlets where our children could sell handmade crafts, as in a gift shop/gallery. Produce from our agricultural programs could be sold at local farmer’s markets. These outreaches not only raise revenue but build St. Catherine’s as an integral part of the larger Santa Fe community, where our children will grow to be deeply valued members.