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[Photo: Fr. Dan Leary and Girlstown (supplied by author)]

By Kevin Wells, Crisis Magazine, July 25, 2022

Kevin Wells is a former Major League Baseball writer, Catholic speaker, and author of Priest and Beggar: The Heroic Life of Venerable Aloysius Schwartz (Ignatius Press). His best-selling book The Priests We Need to Save the Church was published by Sophia Institute Press in 2019.

In Chalco, Mexico, on the other side of the high walls that guard this valley of Lazaruses, mangy dogs wander in small packs like bothered demons. Their howls and barks merge with the thrumming of passing cars whose radios push upbeat merengue and salsa into the air. A loudspeaker beyond the west wall drones the monotone voice of a female vendor hawking late-night tamales to men leaving small bars in slums. In the direction of the twin volcanoes is the pop-pop-pop of gunfire, as common as the drugs and gangs which have settled like unmovable poisonous gases in this town in the shadow of Mexico City.

In the dead of night here at the Girlstown community of Villa de Las Niñas, when the unloved dogs collapse in a heap and the summery chirps of crickets take hold, 55 religious sisters and 3,300 teenage girls sleep. …

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