Stories of Success

Stories of Success

In early December, we were happy to let you know that Friar Phil Ley was honored for his ministry with Posada Guadalupe. He was one of seven individuals who received the annual ‘Alfonso Garcia Robles Recognition for 2021.’  This award honors individuals and organizations who work for the defense, promotion, protection, as well as working to guarantee the human rights, of (im)migrants confronted by dangerous and vulnerable conditions both within Mexico and globally.

After 15 years of helping young men normalize their status in the United States, Friar Phil Ley has many stories of success to tell.

There’s a guy who used to do roofing here, then moved to Florida and has started his own business. Another is a journeyman plumber in Chicago. We have a young guy here now who is learning to do flooring and doing very well at it. We do have our success stories

The stories begin when undocumented boys from Mexico and Central America, who are younger than 18, are placed in foster care or youth facilities. When they reach 18, they have to move on to other facilities. Working with local authorities, Posada Guadalupe provides shelter, food, and education for the young men so they can move toward legal status. Currently, there are 17 men living there.

They leave violent situations that have never been good, but now have gotten even worse. Teens are leaving by leaps and bounds. There are absolutely no opportunities whatsoever, and when the gangs try to recruit them they have nowhere to go.

In addition to learning English and moving toward their General Education Diplomas, the young men at Posada Guadalupe learn how to live together. They cook together, and twice a week clean the property inside and out.

They come from different ethnic backgrounds, so they’re not necessarily friends right away. Right now we have Cubans, Mexicans, Nicaraguans, Hondurans, and guys from Guatemala, Cameroon, and Ghana. But the important thing is that they’re learning to treat each other with basic human dignity.

Our mission statement is based on Matthew 25, where Jesus separates the sheep from the goats by determining if you gave the hungry something to eat, or the thirsty something to drink. It’s the Gospel, not politics.

And our name is in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe. We’re bringing people together under her protection.

(Excerpt from article originally published in the Closer to Home Insert of the Messenger of Saint Anthony, an international publication of the Conventual Franciscan friars of the Basilica of Saint Anthony in Padua, Italy.)

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