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The story of our missions in Mexico began in the fall of 1959 when Father Charles Zeyen, M.S.F. first went to Mexico. Soon after his arrival in Saltillo, he began working with the poor people in the barrio of Landin. In the space of four years, and with the help of benefactors in the United States, Padre Carlos changed the scene in Landin. The Chapel of La Santa Cruz de las Cuevas was enlarged and renovated. A civic center was built where people could recreate, shower, do their washing and ironing, receive medical attention, and where classes could be taught. Religious societies were organized, as well as an athletic club for the boys and young men. A credit union was founded, which quickly grew to 123 members.

Padre Carlos also helped the men find work by forming them into a loosely knit construction company. He went out into various parts of the city looking for jobs for them. His work in Landin did not go unnoticed. Even the civil authorities soon realized how crime had diminished and murders had ceased in the formerly unruly neighborhood. On February 4, 1965, the Very Rev. Henry Bliestle, M.S.F., Superior General in Rome, gave his permission to accept the Mexican mission as outlined in a contract between the Most Rev. Luis Guizar Barragán, Bishop of Saltillo, Coahuila and the Very Rev. Henry Romer, M.S.F., provincial of the North American Province. However, this event was preceded by almost a year of deliberation, investigation, and consultation on the part of Father Romer. He met several times with the bishop and traveled to Mexico City for a conference with the Apostolic Nuncio. Even before the terms of the contract were defined, Father Romer assigned Padre Carlos to the parish of Sierra Mojada (Nuestra Señora del Refugio).

Padre Carlos took up residence at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Esmeralda and began working at once on a suitable rectory. Esmeralda is about 200 miles northwest of Saltillo near the border of the State of Chihuahua. The initial work of Padre Carlos, which began in 1959, laid the foundation for over four decades of missionary service in Mexico, ending in 2000. The Missionaries of the Holy Family who served in Mexico are:

Rev. Charles Zeyen, M.S.F.
Rev. Stephen Devine, M.S.F.
Rev. Arthur Riggs, M.S.F. 
Rev. Richard Oberstar, M.S.F.
Rev. Zachary John Flanagan 

Rev. James Lienert, M.S.F.

Click here to read a brief account about the missions from Father Lienert.

Click here to see great pictures of the missions from Father Lienert!

Bro. Theodore Garcia, M.S.F.
Rev. August Otto, M.S.F.
Rev. Alfonso Coenders. M.S.F. 
Rev. Robert O'Hara, M.S.F.
Bro. Jude Treviño, M.S.F.
Rev. John Kilburg, M.S.F.

Much was accomplished by the Missionaries of the Holy Family who worked in the missions. In the beginning, many hardships befell the missionaries who built from nothing many beautiful and functional structures, but, most importantly, built up the Church. A great sense of gratitude is given to them for their sacrifices and perseverance.

A little more about the missions.

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