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January 2024

Dear Friends and Helpers,

Well, it's time to review FHMB 2023

We again could not return to our Missions Damien House and Una Sola Fuerza due to the violence, crime, and kidnappings by the gangs and cartels throughout Ecuador, but most especially in the cities of Guayaquil and Duran. The cartels might stop our in person visits, but they cannot stop us from assisting the poor.


Sister Ann Credidio, BVM at Damien House continues to keep us posted on the patients and all their needs, but requests we not come for our safety. We respect that and worked here to raise needed funds through our Annual Pasta Dinner Fundraiser in May, the Mission Cooperative Appeal at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel through the Diocesan Mission Office, an extra party fundraiser, and ongoing private donations. We sent $58,000 in 2023.

So where did we send the money?


1) Sister Annie at Damien House in Guayaquil, the home for those affected by Hansen’s Disease, with outpatient clinics and new medical brigades to the countryside areas of Babahoyo, El Rincon, El Oro, and Loja. These medical brigades are ensuring continued care and treatments, and additional support of free medicine and food kits to patients and their families. The hope eventually is to have enough support in the countryside to allow patients to stay at home during treatment of Hansen’s with proper nutrition and medical care available so they don’t have to be in-patients.


In Rincon, our donations provided long-time patient Teresita with an indoor bathroom and completed a new clinic space that has consultation rooms. The space is used for clinic days, medical consults, Physical Therapy, and food and medicine distributions. Thank you to so many who made this possible. Teresita is so happy and appreciative.


Damien House goals: 

a) provide complete medical care for patients with Hansen's Disease

b) help patients live a life of dignity and love no matter what their situation may be

c) help patients return to living full lives

d) provide public education to dispel myths regarding leprosy, allow earlier diagnosis and treatment, and minimize complications

Women at Damien House with Sister Annie

2) The community of Una Sola Fuerza is in Duran, outside of Guayaquil. Sisters Fanny and Gladys work with the people to help them become more self-sufficient in so many ways.  They are teaching sewing to the ladies, organic gardening to all, carpentry workshop training, mobilized volunteers to bring food and medicine to the homebound and elderly, and have a school for 48 students.


We received scholarships for each student @ $250/year including all school supplies, a snack at school, and a meal kit sent home each afternoon. In appreciation, each donor received a photo and thank you note from “their” student. Besides the scholarships, FHMB provides funds for the teachers’ salary and food and medicine for the community.  We receive regular thank you notes and updates as well.


Children from Una Sola Fuerza 

Party Time!


Our plans for 2024 are to continue what seems to work to raise funds. Join us for our Annual Pasta Dinner Fundraiser on Monday, April 29, 2024 from 4-8 PM in St. Brigid Parish Hall. Price is still $15. Tickets go on sale after Easter.


We thank ALL our donors for their ongoing support.  Without you, we could do nothing to help these missions in Ecuador.

May God Bless you Abundantly!

In love and gratitude,

Betty Matteson, Katie Brown, and the Board of Directors of FHMB.


Board of Directors

Katie Brown          Kathy MacCarthy           Julie Mishleh      

Patrick Burke           Mike MacCarthy             Robert J. Mulcahy

Jerry Legare            Betty Matteson               Cindy Holm           

Deacon Patrick McCay

Inspired by the teaching of Jesus and the call to have a preferential love of the poor, Friends & Helpers of Madre Berenice was organized to provide help and support to the missionaries of Ecuador. Assistance is given by acquiring healthcare and educational supplies, clothing, and funds to supplement selected education and health services. Members witness to the love of God by visiting and getting to know and serve the people personally.


We are a charitable organization under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3)

Tax ID 20-8115700


FHMB, PO Box 9739, San Diego, CA 92169

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