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“We came fleeing from a country that was already in ruins. We had had many political setbacks because my husband was a party leader. In 2016 and 2017, trying to get out of a dictatorship, he formed groups of neighbors. We would meet every night to find a way out.

There was an invasion of privacy. There was intimidation even from the authorities. There were tear gas bombs, and Santiago lived through all that, and we all lived through it as a family. It’s a story that I don’t like to go back on. It was pretty tough. Then we decided as a family that we could not take it anymore, and left… left the country with few resources, but we had to do it, especially for the welfare of the family and the children.

I came to Catholic Charities because they told me that they would help us with food. And so, I started coming to Catholic Charities, looking for a bag of food. After that, we applied for political asylum. We do use the legal side of Catholic Charities for the residency process. Thanks to God, our papers are in the hands of immigration, and we have already received the confirmation that they have received them.

I can talk about Monica. I can talk about Karen. I can talk about Maria. Three key people, among many others that I know are there. But they were the ones I was closest to. In fact, Monica is still helping me. We keep knocking on doors through her, and well, I feel that, honestly, she was a great support in all respects, in all respects.”

Monica and her husband, Salvador, fled Venezuela with their son Santiago in 2018. They were assisted by Monica, Karen, and Maria of the Comprehensive Refugee Services (CRS) ministry.