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“I am from Brazil, and I married a US citizen. I had some difficult times with him… domestic violence. Truly, it was very difficult for me, but I always put God first. I went to a shelter who first helped me. Many times in the shelter I cried. Many times in my car I cried. I lived there for 11 months, and they are the ones who referred me to Catholic Charities.
First, I thank God, and second, I thank you at Catholic Charities, who received me very well. You gave me comfort. I was feeling more secure. All I have to say is ‘thank you.’ I don’t know how to repay you. I hope that God blesses you. The people who helped me from here—they are considered my family. I don’t have any family here, so I consider the Catholic Charities people and the shelter people my family. At some points, I didn’t have anybody to talk to or comfort me, so I would turn to God, and I would call you.
Today I have to say, ‘Thank you, God! Thank you, everyone!’ I have been working. I have been paying my taxes. All I want is to continue to work and fulfill my obligations. Thanks to God, I didn’t get into deep depression because it was very hard. It was very hard, but God gave me the strength. I came here to thank you for everything. There are no words. Without Catholic Charities, I would be nothing.”
With the help of Catholic Charities of Central Florida’s Immigration & Refugee Legal Services, Maria became a legal permanent resident in the United States last month! She dreams of being able to have her son and grandson join her here.