Volunteer Stories - Andrea de Castro

In a Small Church in Las Cruces
"I found my faith and everything I stood for." 

Andrea de Castro graduated from Assumption College (Worcester, MA) in May of 2006 with a triple major in Spanish, History, and Latin American Studies. Is it any wonder that she is spending this year as an AMA at Casa Maria Eugenia in Chaparral, NM where she, her co-AMA Tina Grzeczkowski and the Assumption Sisters serve the youth of this border town with Mexico? Andrea wants to go on to Law School and be an advocate for immigrant families. This year is teaching her many lessons that she could never learn in the classroom alone.

Here she shares her experience in a small church in Las Cruces on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe:

"It was December 12th, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Tina and I visited Las Cruces to see the elaborate celebration. Many people gathered in a small area called Tortugas to celebrate Our Lady and give thanks to her. The natives dressed in their traditional costumes wearing headdresses and carried instruments as they danced. And I realized that all this song and dance was for one immaculate woman. It was a spectacular sight to see.

Tina and I entered the Church there, to say a prayer and to escape the commotion for a bit. As I knelt there, my thoughts wandered and I was suddenly overcome with emotion, a mix of sadness and joy. Until now, I had been drifting so long, not knowing what to believe or think. I was like a fish in a big empty sea being carried by the current and at any moment something bigger than me was going to swallow me up.

But here on the border, I found my soul again. I found my faith and everything I stood for. Here, I was reminded by these simple people, whose faith is stronger than most, what is means to just believe. Here, hope lies in the face of a stranger. The border, a place of faith and a symbol of hope has inspired me to believe again. And so in that quiet little church I gave thanks and praise to Our Lady."

Andrea de Castro
Assumption College Graduate 2006
AMA ‘06-‘07, Chaparral, New Mexico


Volunteer Stories and Reflections:

Chaparral, New Mexico
Kristen Penkala, 2007-08
Andrea de Castro, 2006-07
Maggie McCormick, 2005-06

Worcester, MA
Liz Supple, 2011-12
Pierre Tardivo, 2007-08
Liz Clayton, 2006-07

Mexico City, Mexico
Brendan Carey, 2009-2010

Bognor-Regis, England
Matt Collins, 2006-07
Beth Sheehan, 2006-07

Newcastle, England
Kathleen Gardner, 2011-12
Rebecca Ickes, 2009-10