Dozens of little girls in the poorest neighborhood in Puerto Peñasco, recently received bright-colored, hand-made dresses, as a gift of love from members of Santa Catalina Parish in Catalina, Ariz., near Tucson.

The seamstresses are part of an organization named “Dress a Girl Around the World,” which operates under Hope 4 Women International, a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring dignity to women around the world. It is an International, nondenominational, independent Christian organization.

A statement from their website reads, “We dream of a world in which every girl has at least one new dress. We want girls to know that they are worthy of respect, and that they are loved by God.”

Carolyn Sherwin and her husband John were asked by Geri Coser from the Dress a Girl group in Catalina if they could take the dresses to someone in Mexico who would know where they were most needed.

Carolyn said, “God works in mysterious ways. We have been coming to Rocky Point for the last six years and were planning a visit to Laguna Shores with friends to go birding. Lo and behold, Geri reached out to our Social Awareness and Justice Ministry, wondering if anyone was going somewhere they could take these dresses.

“I really didn’t know where I would take them but then I discovered the St. Joseph’s Mission Church in La Cholla and Bob Keller’s contact information through the Internet and ‘Bingo,’” Carolyn explained.

Keller turned to Javier Burruel Balmori, a lay minister at Our Lady of Guadalupe with a special assignment to St. Joseph’s Mission Chapel. He took the clothing to Maria Benita Ruiz Juarez, who takes care of people, particularly children, who live in the barrios at the edge of town.

Benita took it from there, putting colorful cotton dresses in little girls’ hands and big smiles on their faces.

“Our concentration at St. Joseph’s has been on building a comfortable, functional house of worship in La Cholla,” said Bob Keller, sexton for the mission chapel. “Our Mass every Sunday at 8 a.m. is the only bilingual Mass in Puerto Peñasco, and we have had extraordinary help from visitors and seasonal residents from the United States, Canada and other countries.

“Once we have completed all the projects for the building and grounds, we will be able to turn our attention to greater outreach to those in need,” Keller said. “This Dress a Girl donation was a step in that direction.”

If you would like more information about services at San José/St. Joseph’s or about projects underway at the church, you can contact Bob Keller by e-mail at:, by phone at 928-706-6928, or by mail to Post Office Box 297, Lukeville, AZ 85341.

Because of uncertainty caused by Covid-19, please check the Facebook page – San José Mission Church, Cholla Bay MX – for details about Mass time or cancellations.

Photo Cutline:

Carolyn Sherwin, John Sherwin and Prudy Bowers from Santa Catalina Catholic Church near Tucson, display three of the dozens of hand-made dresses that were delivered to San José mission church for distribution to little girls in the poorest neighborhoods in Puerto Peñasco.