Between the song of the birds and the coquí, as witnesses, 55 years ago, an offshoot of hope arose among our Puerto Rican people on a humble mountain in Aguas Buenas.
The thirst of fervent missionaries to proclaim the Word of God in an extraordinary way in a retreat house launched them in the search for a space to carry out their apostolate. That is how they found the facilities of the El Rancho Motel in the Jagüeyes neighbourhood of the municipality of Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico.
In an extraordinary climate, the feeling of peace and contact with nature seduced the missionaries’ interest. Roberto Feely, C.SS.R. and his consultants decided that the Motel El Rancho was the perfect place for the work of evangelisation. They did not wait any longer and began the process of purchasing the motel with the few economic resources they had in the then Vice-Province.
Opening its doors as a retreat and spiritual formation house on May 4, 1967, the first Redemptorists arrived, confident in the call of the Holy Spirit and their founder, St. Alphonsus, to a missionary apostolate of incarnational accompaniment of the needs and personal urgencies of the wounded, lonely, suffering, hopeless, drowned, desperate, in short, of those who are in search of improvement and greater meaning in their lives.
Thus was born what today is Christ the Redeemer House under the benign care of the Redemptorist missionaries. A place where God’s action transforms and redeems. A place where God’s instruments have a face that bears your name.
Christ the Redeemer House began to function, giving Cursillos in Christianity twice a month for the Diocese of Caguas. It also offered retreats for youth, adults and members of apostolic movements and religious associations. It was a slow start but trusting in the Spirit.
For the first 37 years, Casa Cristo Redentor was able to operate thanks to a monthly grant from the Redemptorist Province of San Juan. This grant was an excellent investment in the spiritual welfare of the local Church. What we invested in the people who came to us, God has already rewarded in spades. Thomas Travers, C.SS.R., who worked for several years at Christ the Redeemer House, quoting Luke 4:18-19, defined the mission of CASA as one of liberation, healing and proclaiming the Good News to the poor. It was clear to Fr. Thomas that the house was fulfilling the purpose of the Congregation and like its founding Father St. Alphonsus.
Today, Christ the Redeemer House strives to accompany people to achieve well-being in their lives through an encounter with themselves, with others, and with God that contributes to their integral growth from a Christian perspective. Many people come to Casa Cristo wounded, empty and with unbearable burdens. Here in silence, nature, welcome and the power of God’s liberating Word, the lives of the young people and adults who come to us are transformed.
Edgar Luis Torres Santos, C.SS.R. is a Puerto Rican priest with the experience of having lived at Casa Cristo Redentor for part of his formation and volunteered his services at an early age in retreat experiences with Notre Dame Catholic College and the J.U.R.E.M. team (Redemptorist Missionary Youth).
Many are the Redemptorist missionaries who have passed through these 55 years where they have left their best in the mission of bringing each one of the people who have attended this house closer to the encounter with the Redeemer.
In the process of transformation of Casa Cristo Redentor, there are key people. To be able to make the remodelling of the facilities of what is now Christ the Redeemer House a reality. At Christ the Redeemer House, they are here to serve you!
We do not want to forget that the most significant weight of the retreats and workshops is carried by an excellent team of lay men and women committed to the Redemptorist mission. Professionals who are always ready to go the extra mile to accompany those most in need. Some of them are young people who work in the youth retreats that our CASA offers.
The house also has a good team of volunteers without whom it would not be possible to welcome our people and offer them a service of excellence. To all of them, our deepest gratitude. Thank you!!! To all the people who, in one way or another, have passed through Christ the Redeemer House, have left their sorrows there, but above all have made it their place of encounter with the Redeemer.
To the Redemptorists, thank you for your dedication and service to so many wounded Puerto Ricans, who have found a helping hand and above all for being witnesses of the abundant redemption… and to all those who in one way or another see us, we say Casa Cristo es tu Casa, it is the house of all.
Welcome and many more years to come….
Province of San Juan (Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti)