In early 1997, some parishioners at St. Jerome’s Catholic Church in Jerome, Idaho became aware of a small orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico that needed their house repaired. A real and lasting friendship developed between the two Sisters of Divine Love (Maria Elena and Monserrat) who run the home and the people participating in the work from Idaho. After the original June 1997 trip, there was another, bigger trip in November of 1997 that brought thousands of dollars of materials, supplies and appliances to St. Joseph’s. The worked was originally named "The Tijuana Orphanage Project".
First Mission Trip in 1997
During this trip, the friendship and commitment deepened even more and the next month Sister Maria Elena and nine children were flying to Idaho for Christmas. After their visit in Idaho, regular monthly financial support was started. Primarily through the people that had been to Tijuana and knew the children, $400 per month was committed to St. Joseph’s on a monthly basis. This was then the only regular financial support that they had.
In March of 1998, there was another large group in Tijuana from Idaho working to transform St. Joseph’s house and grounds. From the initial humble beginnings the work grew quickly to encompass Catholics from much of the diocese and now reaches to other programs in Tijuana benefiting the homeless and the very poor. To date, some 20 work trips to Tijuana have been organized and funded since June 1997
As St. Joseph’s Home was remodeled and improved, other needs in the Tijuana area become very evident to Mission trip organizers. Primarily through Sister Maria Elena, relationships with Sr. Dorie, Carmina Morfin and the Missionaries of Charity have been formed. These relationships have broadened our onsite construction mission to include other Catholic ministries in Tijuana. These ministries have a serious need for solid, competent construction and remodel assistance.
Regular financial support has become the most pressing need for St. Joseph’ s. Monthly support levels have moved upward as the need has increased. The cost of living in Tijuana is not much different than it is in the U.S. with some things; water, power and insurance even higher. With the change in the economy in Tijuana and Southern California that 9/11 brought, other donations fell sharply and St. Joseph’s began to experience a serious shortfall each month.
In October of 2002, the Sisters decided to close the home because of the debt they had incurred in the year since 9/11. After much discussion and prayer, Capstone Missions was organized and an agreement to partner with the Sisters and St. Joseph’s Home for Children was set. With that partnership in place, St. Joseph’s can stay open for the foreseeable future. This commitment is still the only regular monthly financial support they receive.
Original Steering Committee
Capstone Missions purpose is to link people who are willing to offer their time, talents and treasure with the poor of Tijuana who will benefit greatly from that offering. Out of this dynamic arrangement - lives of people on both ends will be greatly changed and the Gospel message will become more alive in their hearts. That is a wonderful outcome!
The "Capstone" is a biblical metaphor for Christ, from Matthew 21:45. The Capstone represents the link between parishioners in the U.S. and the poor of Tijuana. In the logo, one side of the stone is red, white and blue, representing the United States, while the other side is red, white and green, representing Mexico. We come together in Christ.