The Padre Wasson Foundation grew out of a project that we started together with NPH International, the umbrella organization of the NPH children’s homes.
“We” is a group of members of Padre Wasson’s extended family, former “children” of his such as Joseph Ferdinand from Haiti or Alejandra Garcia Buehler from Mexico, and former volunteers and collaborators of Our Little Sisters and Brothers. Many people who had known Padre Wasson or even lived with him and have a strong relationship with him and his work. But also others who were intrigued by the idea of giving a future home to his life’s work.
On Padre Wasson’s birthday, December 21st of 2020, the blueprint was put to life, the Padre Wasson Foundation was born. NPH was invited to spearhead the organization but decided to focus on their many other challenges. The Padre Wasson Foundation does complement and support them. In order to have a legal structure to be able to receive donations and make disbursements, we became a registered charity in German law. This location fits well, because Padre Wasson had a special connection to Germany. He spent several weeks a year in Germany meeting his friends and benefactors. His first orphan was a child of German emigrants. In his humorous way he said, it is only just that Germans now help to fix the problem of broken families. Also, the German psycho-analyst Erich Fromm, when he lived in Mexico, was greatly inspired by Padre Wasson’s family of orphans and the healing effect of it.
The initial idea of our foundation was and still is to collect all materials of the NPH founder Padre Wasson: his books and messages, quotes and anecdotes, photos and videos, articles about him and books about his work. There are different initiatives in that direction and we hope to bring them together in one place. This will become the family heritage for all past, present and future members of his family.
Quickly it became apparent, that a straightforward collection of the past would be “stirring cold ashes” as one of our collaborators put it. Such a “museum” is nice to have, but in order to be useful we need to learn from history and take the best parts into the future. While the essential elements of Padre Wasson’s philosophy remain unchanged, some traditions that he established have become outdated. We need to respond to the changes in our society. Like the idea of placing children together in large groups and homes, which is no longer the norm – for good reasons. Children benefit tremendously from family environment settings.
Such changes are very good. However, at the same time we are seeing a loss of identity, a fading of the underlying values that are elemental to community cohesion. And above all, “his” grown-ups worry about the family foundation they received when they were a child. We want to change that and ensure every family member of the security of belonging to a deeply rooted, loving and caring, modern and visible global community.