Promoting Peace, Creating Unity

Mary's Little Jewel is a beacon in Belize and beyond.  It brings together youth and elderly in a creative exchange where they make rosaries and share stories of faith, cultural traditions of the past and ongoing successes of Belizean youth leading positive change. The youth and elders make rosaries for free distribution to the Catholic schools in Belize. Rosaries, prayer cards and sacramentals are also collected from overseas to give out free to the students in the Catholic schools of Belize. The literacy, cultural and entrepreneurship project is known as E4 Life.

During the rosary sessions  in the schools, the youth are taught about the history and meaning of the rosary and how to pray the rosasry using the rosary beads. The rosary mission in the Catholic Schools of Belize was given to Thomasita Asevedo and Manuela Lue by Bishop O.P. Martin of the Diocese of Belize City and Belmopan.

 

Rosary workshops are provided  nationwide and youth in the mission make beautiful handicraft out of nylon cord. The youth paint, draw and sing. The parents and the youth are taught to make hand bags, blankets and hair clips. Older youth serve as mentors and young advisors. These young advisors travel throughout Belize to sell these beautiful handicraft at Chamber of Commerce Expos, Street Art Festivals, Art Fairs and Christmas Expos so that these youth can have money to go to school, to eat lunch, to buy their school supplies and books and to pay their school fees.   

Primary school children are also taught to read and to tell stories of their culture to each other. In Belize, there is the Mestizo, Maya, Garifuna and Creole culture. These literacy sessions help youth to have a better understanding of their world so that they can communicate better with their teachers and others in authority. Many of the students come from migrant families from neighboring Central American countries. Their first language is Spanish. So the literacy project is helping these students to understand English better. In Belize the official language in schools is English.  


Origins and Purpose

Mary's Little Jewel was formed in 2008. The purpose is to teach the rosary to students in Belize and to help students to become responsible citizens.  It was borne out of a desire to promote peace in Belize through the rosary.  In Belize youth want peace. This stems from the long standing dispute with Guatemala's claim to Belize, which has been heightened recently with the dispute of taking the issue to the International Court of Justice.  The Mary Little Jewel mission consists of local and international volunteers. The first university to partner with the mission  was the Franciscan University of Steubenville Ohio. In 2008, students on a mission trip to Belize  from the Franciscan University of Steubenville Ohio joined the rosary team to teach the students at Saint Martin de Porres in Belize City.  Since then many more volunteers have come to help out the mission and additional services were provided in the E4 Life Project such as helping to mentor Belizean youth,  cultural storytelling, handicraft making  and providing them with school supplies and materials for entrepreneurship.

Manuela Lue and Melissa Krebs (volunteer from Kansas USA)

Governing Body

The Governing Body consists of Thomasita Asevedo, Manuela Lue and Gordon Trotter. The Youth Leaders are Ricky Cunil and  Elsia Pop.  

A Warm Welcome

The students welcome the rosary team with open arms. The teachers and principals are grateful for the materials provided to their schools. The students sing beautiful songs, the teachers play the guitar and the families open their homes to accommodate the rosary team.  They cook delicious local food and share their lives with the rosary team.

The students in the classrooms enjoy the visits by the rosary team. It gives them a fresh perspective on learning as the rosary team travel far over rivers, on dirt roads, through ferries and on hammock bridges to teach them.

  • School Visits

  • Testimonials

    The school rosary project struck me as a simple but rare form of outreach. It reminds the teachers, administrators, and students of schools of a beautiful and often forgotten aspect of our Catholic life, the holy rosary.

    In Belize, lack of physical rosaries is a significant hindrance to many schools and parishes to promoting devotion to the rosary. The school rosary project of Manuela Lue and Thomasita Asevedo addresses this problem by distributing enough rosaries for every teacher and student to all of the schools that they visit. However, I believe the most important aspect of the project is the witness provided to the students and teachers of the importance and beauty of the rosary. The students from around the country can see that people have volunteered to come to them personally from Belize City, or even from the United States or the United Kingdom, to share with them what they know and love about the rosary. The impact remains long after the volunteers have left. By Greg, Kansas, USA

Many students and teachers report on the tremendous peace and joy they receive from the school visits. They report how they are inspired, energized and motivated to continue teaching the students.

Rosary Bracelets

Beautiful rosary bracelets are made by the volunteers in the mission and either given out as gifts or sold to purchase beads for the rosaries which are made for free distribution in the schools.

It is the small acts of kindness that so gratefully touch our lives

Large rosaries are made in our mission for free distribution to all school principals