The Father Wasson Foundation grew out of a project that we started together with the family that Father Wasson founded, “Our Little Sisters and Brothers” (Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos – NPH). “We” are my parents who have always accompanied Father Was-son’s work, former “children of Father Wasson” such as Joseph Ferdinand from Haiti or Alejandra Garcia Buhler from Mexico, and former volunteers and collaborators of Our Little Sisters and Brothers. Many people who had known Father Wasson and have a strong relationship with him and his work. But also some who were infected by the idea of giving a home to his life’s work.
Due to many changes in our society, some traditions that Father Wasson established have fallen out of time. Starting with the idea of placing children together in large groups and homes, which is no longer the norm. Not even at Our Little Sisters and Brothers. We are seeing a loss of identity with the changes, a fading of the underlying values that are elemental to community cohesion. We want to change that!
Our goal is to describe the foundation of his “extended family,” as he called it, to document his works and thoughts and make them fit for the future.
In view of the needs of his extended family, which can implement the results, this will be a core area of the foundation’s work:
A. The scientific study of the philosophy of Father Wasson, based on the thoughts that Erich Fromm and Father Wasson had formulated. From this, we develop practical concepts of how a community can be shaped in a meaningful way.
In addition, we have noticed that still many “orphans” instead of standing on their own two feet fall on their faces when they live their own lives. This does not have to be.
Our thoughts are already very concrete here: The idea of the extended family brings together people who are themselves strangers in a common family structure. Originally, orphans of different origins became sisters and brothers. And this is still the case today and, remarkably, it also works across national borders. The children and young people in one country feel a brotherly bond with those of the family in another country. You probably have to have experienced it to understand it better.
Of course, children do not usually live with their parents forever. Little sisters and brothers also grow up and move into their own lives. And then? Father Wasson explained that most of the time a child can fall back on the family network. Parents provide support during education, and an uncle or aunt helps find the first job. This is exactly what “his orphans” would not have if it were not for this special family, which even represents a much larger network than a biological family could ever create.
Many small groups remain connected and continue to live exactly the idea of the extended family. They are the role models that Father Wasson described. This is where his legacy lives. This is what we want to strengthen, to make visible and support the adult “children”, the “alumni” or “former”, in order to carry on the family in the same way that Father Wasson started it:
B. Alumni Network – connecting, empowering, and giving a voice to the former children of the Our Little Sisters and Brothers family.
And what if an earthquake hit Haiti? Would Father Wasson have started his day un-changed? Certainly not. In the 1970s, when he learned of the floods in Veracruz, Mexico, that had orphaned dozens of children, he immediately traveled there to care for them. His example is followed by “his children” and so is our foundation:
C. Direct aid to children and families in need.
And that brings us to the earthquake that catapulted our beginning in the plan to the end. Better said: you have done that because your help has underlined the priority where we must engage first. We do this in the spirit of Father Wasson, according to his philosophy of unconditional acceptance and charity. And we do this together with many “alumni”, the former students who are actively involved in the Foundation and on the ground in Haiti. And so the Foundation, and with it, the memory of Father Wasson and his philosophy lives not in theory, but very practically now and today in deeds.
Thank you for being a part of this community. Thank you for your solidarity, support, donations, encouragement, prayers, and thoughts for our sisters and brothers who are suffering. Thank you for living the idea of family, for establishing eye level, and for showing compassion instead of pity.