From 1988 to 1998, my Atlanta ministry as a Grey Nun of the Sacred Heart was directing Hispanic Services at St. Joseph’s Hospital and its medical outreach program, Mercy Mobile. I came to St. Joseph’s cognizant of the needs in the Hispanic community because I had spent the previous decade at Catholic Social Services as an advocate and outreach worker for Hispanics.
As the reality of Hispanic domestic abuse came into focus, I gathered a small group of women affected by abuse to learn of their experience. I continued with this group for some months; but noting the cultural and psychological angles involved, I resolved to find someone with that expertise to help me. I knew of a Colombian woman who with her daughter, volunteered each week at a nearby Personal care Home. At the time, she was studying psychology at Georgia State on her way to a higher degree. Her name was Julia Perilla and her daughter’s name was Jessica. Julia said yes, and thus began the now well-known history of Caminar Latino!