programs

School and education

Realizing that education is so important for the future generations of the Tarahumara, Father Verplancken built two boarding schools. The first school was built in the late 1960's in a village not too distant from Creel, the Mission's headquarters. The second school, also a boarding one, was built in 1974 in a remote mountainous area. The children, age 5 to 14, attend school from Monday and return to their homes on Friday. The logistics of such an undertaking were enormous.

Clean Water

One of the most important projects for the welfare of the Tarahumara is providing water both for drinking and for cooking and washing dishes.  In response to the serious problem of providing drinking water for the Tarahumara, Father Verplancken began a well-drilling project in 1994.  Finding a location to drill is the first step and Father Verplancken did this with divining rods.  Often it took him hours to find the spot but in 25 attempts 20 were successful. These were shallow (15-45 feet) wells and were installed with hand pumps since there is no access to electricity.

Children's Hospital - Clinic Santa Teresita (Creel)

Childdrens Hospital

The Tarahumara Children's Hospital Fund supports the St. Teresita Clinica in Creel, offering free health care to Tarahumara children.

When Fr. Verplancken, assigned to a parish in Creel in the state of Chihuahua, started ministering to the Tarahumara, he found a community with an infant mortality rate of more than 75 percent and suffering from malnutrition, tuberculosis, and gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases.