I’ve found a place of love and hope

Coming to the Mother of Divine Mercy Refuge was the first time I had people that supported and uplifted me and my family.

November 3, 2023

I am a mother of two boys, one who is 16 and my younger son who is seven.

I grew up in the Islands and life was hard. I have a disability and my thinking is quite slow, and I have a speech impairment. My family always looked down on me. I was the girl who would do all the chores and was always teased and mocked for being the “slow one”. I remember that once in my late teens my eldest brother punched me in the face when I had done something wrong. I fell dead flat on the floor.

When I was 21, I moved to New Zealand. I was hoping for a better life. I met a guy and became pregnant with my first child. He was very abusive and an alcoholic, and he left me for another woman.  I heard later that he died of an overdose.

My life at home was not good either as I was always being beaten by my elder sister. She would use a cricket bat or baseball bat on me or my children.

She applied for my sickness benefit, but I was never allowed to touch my bank account.  I was told that I was useless, and I wouldn’t know how to handle my own money.

I was never given a chance to learn anything or to better myself. I always felt dumb and insecure because that is what I was always told. I felt helpless, depressed and tired. I had constant thoughts of taking my life.

Finally, I had a breakthrough when a support worker said she would try and get me out of my unsafe situation to somewhere safe.

This is where my life started to turn around. I found a new family within the Mother of Divine Refuge. I met Mother Susana who is the boss of the refuge but she serves all the families like she is a servant.

Mother Susana treats me like her own daughter, and talks to me with love and encouragement

even when I do wrong. She may be in her seventies, but she works and moves faster than the young ones.

I was raised a Catholic but this is the first time in my life that I have seen a real Catholic who lives for Jesus and lives like Jesus. Mother Susana loves Jesus and Mother Mary.

I have learnt so much in the Mother of Divine Mercy Refuge. I am a different person, even my children see that in me.

Today I am independent, strong and able to stand on my own. I am not stupid or weak. I believe and know that Jesus really loves me and my children and wants me to have a blessed life.  I have confidence that I didn’t have before.

The refuge is supporting me and my children to have a better future.  I thank God for this place and will never ever forget all that Jesus has done for me through the Mother of Divine Mercy Refuge.

Mother of Divine Mercy Women’s Refuge is one of two Pacific women’s refuges which offers front-line and wrap around support to women and their children fleeing domestic violence, using a ‘whole family approach’. Safe accommodation is provided as well as targeted programmes to help families, and counselling for victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.

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