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Sodalitium Christianae Vitae - English / News  / Ten years of love and care: Meet the Casa de Saint Joseph in Cali, Colombia

Ten years of love and care: Meet the Casa de Saint Joseph in Cali, Colombia

After more than a decade, the walls and corners of the Saint Joseph’s house in Cali, Colombia, bear witness to the deep dedication and compassion of those who founded it. This home welcomes homeless elderly people, providing them with a decent space to live in and accompanying them daily with love.

How it all started

In a recent speech, Olga De Chamat, a volunteer and director of the Casa de San José, recounted the moment when her eyes fell on the group of recyclers from the west of the city. This meeting marked the beginning of a journey of solidarity commitment lasting more than ten years.

The starting point was the Saint Joseph Solidarity Center, an initiative of Solidarity in Action (Colombia), where for four years, through a soup kitchen and other initiatives, they learned in-depth about the lives of many families. It was then that they noticed the constant presence of elderly people, who spent long hours in the center and then returned to the street or to very precarious places to spend the night.

Olga reflects simply: “We realized that we could also do something for these elderly people.” This realization inspired the idea of offering them permanent, quality care.

These years of service were not only an act of charity, but a school of life. “We learned about solidarity, hospitality, respect and resilience,” says Olga. And in the midst of these lessons, the need to offer a decent home for those elderly people facing poverty and abandonment was born.

A house inhabited by love

“Those elderly faces, and those sore and tired bodies that we saw passing by, needed to be touched by God’s mercy,” Olga shares. “Again, Saint Joseph agreed to be the patron of this new effort.” Thus, a decade ago, the Casa de Saint Joseph opened its doors with just five residents.

In this home, the elderly have the opportunity to live their final years with fullness and joy. They participate in activities, receive medical and psychological care, and feel loved and valued. This home is a place of hope where they find the love, care and dignity they deserve.

Luz Helena Villegas, volunteer and staff coordinator, shares: “The love they give us is even greater than the love we give them.” And reflecting on her experience at the Saint Joseph’s house, Olga expresses with gratitude: “We come here with the joy of serving and we leave happier every day.”

Palliative care culture

Recently, the first training day on palliative care was held, which consisted of a day of learning and growth for the nursing assistants and caregivers of the Saint Joseph’s house.

This journey not only enriched them professionally, but strengthened the team, ensuring that they can continue to provide the best possible care to residents.

Finally, the experience of the service of the volunteers and collaborators of this nursing home entrusted to the sponsorship of Saint Joseph demonstrates what its director expressed in these words: “We want to give them the best version of ourselves, and we always make sure that we are reflecting the love of God with what we did today, with what we said, with this response we gave.”