Testimony Dra. Katia Cornejo Flores

I had other plans. I wanted to specialize in clinical psychology but I accepted the challenge of discovering what it was like to work with children and especially those bedridden angels.

I have been working with the Missionary Servants of the Poor for 25 years. I started on this wonderful path on July 1, 1995. I confess that when Mr. José Luis (affectionately called “Uncle Pepe” in the Movement) showed me the Home for the first time, seeing our children with hydrocephaly, microcephaly, cerebral palsy, cleft lips, etc., it scared me. I said to myself, “My God, can I do this?” But to him I said, “We will see how it goes and I will stay until the end of the year.”

I did a lot of reading as the days passed, bringing myself up to date, researching and taking courses to improve my work with the children. To this was added the most wonderful thing, the beginning of a change in my life and that of my family. I began to know God more because we received catechetical courses, we had retreats, Eucharistic celebrations, etc. Little by little, the meaning of my life was changing. At the same time my husband was asked to work at the Saint Anthony the Abbot Seminary in the Archdiocese of Cuzco. God was calling both of us, in different places, to know Him better and to serve Him. At the end of the year “Uncle Pepe” asked me, “What have you decided?” and I immediately answered, “I’m staying!”

And so began my professional life serving God through these Angels. I have worked with sick children and also with those who have no physical symptoms but who needed help with their emotional development, dealing with their various temperaments and characters, but above all understanding them. One thing that always surprised me was adoptions. Still today, I remember the first adoption I witnessed.

In 1996 a Peruvian couple adopted a four-year-old girl and it was astonishing to see how the adoptive mother and the girl looked like each other. I remember that I was almost paralyzed and the mother asked me if something was wrong. “Your daughter looks just like you,” I said. She looked at me and her eyes filled with tears. It was a beautiful experience, the first of so many that happened at the Home. The same thing almost always happens with the adoptions.

“I fell in love with my job and with my children. I got to know them better, understanding them and learning to communicate with them.”

Today, many of the boys and girls that I met when they were 4 or 5 years old are now 29 or 30. Many are parents and some are even Sisters. It is wonderful to meet them all and hear them say, “How are you Aunt Katy?”

The Movement has grown throughout the years. When I arrived, there were only three Sisters. Now there are many more. In 1997, Father Giovanni had the idea of founding the schools. From the beginning we wanted to serve the poorest of the poor for which it was necessary to choose which families to accept. A social worker and I were given the job of visiting these families and for this work we needed the help of the Holy Spirit to evaluate each case. I discovered things I had never seen in my life, some very sad, which helped me to have a different view of life and to thank God for the opportunity He gave us to have a little part in this work.

Later, we started to work in the Francisco and Jacinta Marto School which we divided into two shifts:  in the morning we saw girls from first through third grades and in the afternoon we saw the boys. I also helped in the soup kitchen, always keeping in mind what Father Giovanni used to say, quoting Scripture, “Who gives to the poor, gives to God” (Prv 19:17).

Today we have two schools, one for boys and one for girls. Thank you and I commend myself to your prayers.

Money can’t buy their smiles