What's New?


Repose of Mariu de Tefel, President of the Tefel Foundation

posted Mar 30, 2018, 8:59 PM by Madre Alexandra   [ updated Mar 30, 2018, 9:06 PM ]

With great sadness and hope in the Resurrection,
we learned today of the repose of Mariu de Tefel, President of the Tefel Foundation.
Throughout the years, she was a good friend to all of us,
especially to our children whom she loved as her own. (since 1996!)
Her joy and generosity will not be forgotten.
We love her and miss her already. May her memory be eternal!
Join us in remembering her family in our prayers. 

New Photos, and in the local Guatemalan news

posted Feb 24, 2018, 5:12 PM by Madre Alexandra   [ updated Feb 27, 2018, 12:06 PM ]

We have published a new Flickr album - Good News in Zone 1!

Also, the Hogar Rafael Ayau has been in the paper, on TV, and on the radio. 
Everyone is excited about the court ruling in favor of the children and all the people of Guatemala!

NEW: Article published by Orthodox Christianity on February 27, 2018

Watch a segment about us on a Local Guatemalan channel - Chapin TV

In the newspaper:


posted Feb 22, 2018, 2:07 PM by Madre Alexandra   [ updated Feb 22, 2018, 2:30 PM ]

Letter from Mother Inés



We want to make public the result obtained in regard to the AMPARO that was imposed to prevent us from being evicted from the building known as Hogar Rafael Ayau, which was given to us by usufruct in 1996 for 50 years, to do work of mercy. The situation was resolved in our favor, for which we are very grateful. This allows us to continue with the work for children, that until now we have been doing. We thank God for His protection and fidelity. We thank Mr. Hugo Marroquin who was in charge of the legal matters before the competent authorities until obtaining the present result. We also thank all those people, and private and public institutions, who in one way or another were attentive and collaborative during the course of this process. We hope that this acknowledgment reaches the 7.1 million people who supported this cause for children. We thank the social media who gave us the opportunities to be able to claim JUSTICE, for having provided us with disinterested coverage so that our voice could reach the people who gave us their support along this path. We thank the magistrates of the Constitutional Court, who in issuing their decision and granting us the protection, and therefore the protection of Human Rights, gave clear evidence, that in Guatemala, the light of justice can shine. And, we thank God again, our Lord, for his kindness, protection and fidelity. On behalf of the children and adolescents that make up our home, on my behalf Mother Inés Ayau Garcia and the nuns with me, and Mr. Hugo Marroquín, we thank you in a simple way from the depths of our hearts. THANK YOU VERY MUCH AND GOD BLESS YOU.

(A downloadable PDF of this letter is below.) 

2017 Christmas Letter

posted Nov 28, 2017, 4:39 AM by Madre Alexandra

Dear Friends,
I hope you are all well and have had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families and friends. 
Today is "Giving Tuesday
and we wanted to send you 
the 2017 Christmas Letter from Mother Ines 
in which there is a special message and update. 
Our latest audit has been uploaded and may be found on our website
On behalf of the FHRA Board, I also wish to thank you all for your continued generosity. 

Mother Alexandra
FHRA President 

Iconography Workshop

posted Nov 28, 2017, 4:36 AM by Madre Alexandra   [ updated Nov 28, 2017, 5:36 AM ]


Join us at the Icon Writing Workshop
January 29 to February 3, 2018
to be given by the Russian master iconographers who did our Monastery Church iconography.

For more information,
please contact Mother Maria: mothermaria10@gmail.com 

Message from Madre Inés

posted Nov 19, 2017, 2:51 PM by Madre Alexandra   [ updated Nov 19, 2017, 2:58 PM ]

To all our friends of FHRA, greetings from Guatemala.

I have some good news to share.


We thank God for our new ecclesiastical authority after the death of our beloved Metropolitan Antonio Chedraoui.

We are now under the omophorion of Metropolitan Archbishop Amfilohije Radović of the Serbian Patriarchate. His Eminence, the Right Reverend Amfilohije is the Serbian Metropolitan of Montenegro with jurisdictions in South and Central America. It is a great joy and blessing!


We continue working for the needy children and youth in “Hogar Rafael Ayau," and we returned back to its original name of “House of Mercy” given by Don Rafael Ayau in 1856. For more information on the many activities and works of mercy taking place here, visit the website: www.casadeculturaymisericordiarafaleayau.org   We also continue with the children that have grown with us and now are all teenagers, plus the ones who are in college.

Third:  We announce that our Metropolitan will be visiting us from December 4-8, 2017.  

We have sent out invitations in Guatemala. (click on the link for a clear copy)

Translation of the Invitation

The Metropolitan Archbishop, the Right Reverend Amfilohije Radović,

Administrator of the Diocese of Buenos Aires, South and Central America, of the Serbian Orthodox Catholic Church will come for a pastoral visit to our Orthodox Monastery of the Holy Trinity.

His Eminence will be visiting the facilities of the "House of Mercy" on Wednesday, December 6, 2017 starting at 10:00 am. We will start with the "Tefel Party" in the garden. Then we will make the tour of the facilities. We hope to count on your presence and your presentation of the activities that are being implemented.

Igumeni Madre Inés Ayau with the Nuns communicate our joy of receiving our Archbishop and we hope you can join us in this visit.

Friends, we thank you all for your unconditional support and affection, and continue to count on your prayers and material help in kind or in money.
We ask God to abundantly bless each one of you and your families. 

in Christ, 
Igumeni Madre Inés Ayau



posted Oct 19, 2017, 11:12 AM by Madre Alexandra   [ updated Oct 19, 2017, 11:13 AM ]

***In late September, we had a good bye party and then a "curbside moment" when we sent Miguel to Russia where he has already begun his classes at the University of Gzhel. We are all very grateful for his benefactors: assistance with his student visa from the Russian Embassy in Guatemala, a scholarship at the University, and sponsorship from a longtime Friend. When he arrived in Moscow, he reunited with his sister, Guadalupe, who has been studying there for 2 years already. 

***Our audit by Sobel and Co, LLC was finalized. We have published it on the About Us page

*** We have published a new Flickr album: Fall 2017 

*** More news to come soon.  The 2017 academic year is ending in Guatemala, and some will graduate to different schools. :)  

General update and looking for a sponsor

posted Jul 22, 2017, 10:05 AM by Madre Alexandra   [ updated Jul 22, 2017, 10:08 AM ]

Nothing has changed in regard to the legal situation. We await responses regarding the zone 1 property and the guardianship of the minor children. All the youth in our care continue as before with their daily activities. Since the academic year in Guatemala begins in January and ends in November, no one is on break at this time. You can imagine that they are counting the days! Our University students, depending on their respective institution and location, are studying or on break.  Some have work or internships associated with their field of study. 

We are looking for a sponsor(s) for one of our young people who will be leaving soon to begin University studies. He has been with us since he was a small child and many will know him. In the last year, he has been with us at the Monastery working in various areas: in the iconography studio with Mother Maria, with the center for Mayan Studies, in our Church and on our grounds. Studying his desired field in a University is his dream come true! He has a scholarship for studies abroad, but as with all families, we need to supply funds monthly for educational materials, food, clothing, transportation, medical, or any other personal needs. If you are interested in assisting, please contact Mother Alexandra at madrealexandraFHRA@gmail.com for details. 

New photos - Pentecost 2017

posted Jun 5, 2017, 1:32 PM by Madre Alexandra

Sunday was the Patronal Feast of the Monastery of the Holy Trinity. Many joined Igumeni Madre Inés and the monastic community
for Divine Liturgy followed by a festal luncheon.

We have added a new Flickr album --> Pentecost 2017 

Important Message from Igumeni Madre Inés - Importante Mensaje de Igumeni Madre Inés

posted May 13, 2017, 8:04 AM by Madre Alexandra   [ updated May 14, 2017, 9:57 AM ]

Very dear friends in Christ, Cristo ha resucitado!

The following message is a translation of a message posted for the Guatemalans last Friday and translated by a nice volunteer. It will be followed by the official resignation to the Usufruct on Monday addressed to the President of the Country.

I will send to friends of the Foundation on Tuesday, a full report, to all of you that have been and are the greatest financial and friendly supporters on these children. Your love for them has been unlimited.

I will also explain what we will keep on doing for the Orthodox Church, as all these is also against the Orthodox Church.

In the risen Christ love, Mother Ines.

Dear Friends,

Several weeks have passed by since the beginning of this absurd conflict over the usufruct of “Hogar Rafael Ayau”.
We should all agree and struggle to get the abandoned children of our country ahead. Our energy and work should be focused towards good deeds. But sadly it is not so. The theory is already said and it is pointless to repeat it. The extreme personal interests cannot meet the interest of people, as though they were opposed.

This battle that we have fought together to keep the Home, this support received from 7.1 million Guatemalans and from all the media but one, has been an extraordinary demonstration of what Guatemalans consider is correct, noble, and worthy. It has been indeed a pleasure to experience it, and a blessing living it! We thank you for your support. Nonetheless, it has fallen on deaf ears, deafened by a market with loudspeakers, a disrespectful market where the country's urgent needs are shouted but they crash against the interests of others. Everyone shouts. Nobody listens. Sense, sanity and respect are over. This is not a voluntary and free exchange market of positive actions and ideas, but it is thunderous mercantilism. Politics still attracts this kind of persons, we have not come out from feudalism.

I am writing this to tell you with great sadness that we are going to leave the property donated for charity by my great-grandfather, Don Rafael Ayau, in 1856; and which in 1996 former President Arzú, asked us to accept in usufruct for 50 years. We received it abandoned, looted and ruined. We fixed it with the help of Guatemalans and it was rehabilitated.
Now, after 20 years, when it is still being done a daily extraordinary work in benefit of 400 youngsters in risk, President Morales is asking it back for the governmental institution of Social Welfare. In three occasions I have sought for a dialogue with the President, but it has not been possible. I have sent him reports and intelligence, but without success. With your support we have struggled to keep it. We even presented an action for Constitutional tort (Amparo in Guatemalan law) against the Attorney General of the Nation. But the authorities want the property. This has nothing to do with the human torch they did in the (IN)Secure Home (Hogar Seguro Virgen de la Asunción), which has gone unpunished, since this is an earlier order from the President. Dialogue has not been possible. At the present, legal contracts are not respected, it is lied with impunity, everywhere there is slandering, they even threaten life, etc. It is no longer a useful and dignified struggle.

You have witnessed that during 20 years we have attended more than one thousand abandoned children, that had suffered from abuses that are not even written. We have welcomed them with great affection, with family love, giving them quality of life in every respect, providing them with the best education and the best therapies in order to recover their lost dignity and give them what they lacked from due to their abandonment; putting them before God, before Jesus, the only healer of our hearts and who says: “If your father and your mother abandon you, I do not.” Thus giving them back the hope of love, giving them the opportunity to grow in their Christian faith; making them our family so that they could later make their own families. The ones that have already left, always come back as any child comes back home, to the place where he is loved, they come for holidays and anniversaries with their families. The hundreds of children who were adopted by wonderful families, keep contact with us as children who live afar. Those who have wanted to pursue university studies have also found the opportunity and they are successful professionals by now, the same happened with the ones who preferred more technical works.

We still have under our responsibility our youngsters who are of age, and the ones who study with half fellowships in Russia: Moscow, Ghzel, Kazan, Bielgorod and also the ones who study in Guatemala at the Universities Galileo and Mariano Gálvez and at the Experimental University on line Rafael Ayau (www.ieira.edu.gt), which is pending approval by the Council of Superior Private Education (CEPS, by its initials in Spanish).
And if the Juvenile courts allow it, we will keep helping the 12 adolescents who are under age, with all their studies, providing them a home, healthy food, amusements and family love. They are with us since they were babies and the laws never permitted their adoption.
Hogar Rafael Ayau will then come to be managed for charity by the governmental Social Welfare or by whom the President designates. If they wish they will continue the works that are currently being done but under their direction.
Not everything is lost, this demonstration of support that we have received and that we thank a thousand of times, also encourages us, and even though at this time it seems like honest Guatemalans have lost a battle, the 7.1 million of us and the whole media (but one) are making reasonable changes, and we know we can. Little by little, persevering in the good and the noble, making our voice be heard whenever possible, we will reach a happy Guatemala.

We will keep on working wherever we can, whenever we can, making alliances with persons we can count on, like you. We keep on counting on you for everything.

Thank very much. Let´s keep on building our beautiful country.
Let us live with the dignity of children of God our Father, being merciful as He is.

Let us keep the constant prayer that protects us: Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.
We remember you in our prayers all the time. Count on us as we do count on you. Thank you. Blessings for each one and a thousand thanks from us the Orthodox Catholic nuns of the Monastery of the Holy Trinity.
Igumeni Madre Inés

[official translation by Ana María]

Queridos amigos,
Ya han pasado varias semanas desde que inició este conflicto absurdo con el Usufructo del Hogar Rafael Ayau.
Todos debiéramos estar de acuerdo y luchar por sacar adelante a los menores abandonados de nuestro país. Nuestras energías y trabajo debiera estar enfocado hacia hacer buenas obras. Pero tristemente no es así. La teoría ya está dicha y es inútil repetirla. Los intereses personales extremos no logran encontrarse con los intereses de la gente, como si fueran opuestos.

Esta batalla que hemos llevado juntos por mantener el Hogar Rafael Ayau, este apoyo recibido de 7.1 millones de guatemaltecos y de todos los medios de comunicación menos uno, ha sido una manifestación extraordinaria sobre lo que los guatemaltecos consideramos lo correcto, lo noble, lo digno. ¡Ha sido un gusto experimentarlo, una bendición vivirlo! Les agradecemos todo su apoyo. Sin embargo ha caído en oídos sordos, ensordecidos por un mercado con altoparlantes, un mercado irrespetuoso donde se gritan las necesidades urgentes del país pero se estrellan contra intereses ajenos. Todos gritan. Nadie escucha. Se acabó la cordura, la sensatez, el respeto. Eso no es un mercado de intercambio libre y voluntario de ideas y acciones positivas, sino un mercantilismo estruendoso. La política todavía atrae a personas así, no hemos salido del feudalismo.
Les escribo esto para comunicarles con gran tristeza que sí nos vamos a retirar del inmueble que donó mi tatarabuelo, Don Rafael Ayau, en 1856 para obras de caridad y que en 1986 el entonces Presidente Arzú nos pidió aceptáramos en Usufructo a 50 años. Lo recibimos abandonado, saqueado, en ruinas. Lo arreglamos con la ayuda de los guatemaltecos y resurgió. 

Ahora a los 20 años, cuando se sigue haciendo una obra extraordinaria en beneficio de 400 jóvenes en riesgo diariamente, el Presidente Morales lo pide de regreso para Bienestar Social. He buscado por tres veces un diálogo con el Presidente pero no ha sido posible. Le he enviado reportes e informes, pero sin éxito. Con ustedes hemos hecho la lucha por mantenerlo. Hasta pusimos un Amparo contra la Procuradora de la Nación. Pero las autoridades quieren el inmueble. Esto no tiene nada que ver con la antorcha humana que hicieron en el Hogar (IN)Seguro, que ha quedado impune, pues la orden del Presidente es anterior. Pero no ha sido posible el diálogo. Actualmente no se respetan los contratos, se miente impunemente, se calumnia a diestra y siniestra, amenazan hasta con la vida, etc. Ha dejado de ser una lucha útil y digna.
Ustedes son testigos que en 20 años hemos servido a más de mil niños abandonados, que han sufrido los abusos que no están escritos. Los hemos acogido con gran cariño, con amor de familia, dándoles calidad de vida en todos los sentidos, proveyéndolos con la mejor educación y las mejores terapias que recuperan su dignidad perdida y les dan lo que les faltó por su abandono; poniéndolos delante de Dios, de Jesús, el único que sana nuestros corazones y les dice: "si tu padre y tu madre te abandonan, Yo no" devolviéndoles así la esperanza del amor, dándoles la oportunidad de crecer en su fe cristiana; haciéndolos nuestra familia para que puedan hacer sus propias familias. Los que ya se han ido regresan como regresa cualquier hijo a su casa donde se le quiere, para las fiestas y aniversarios con sus familias. Los cientos que se fueron adoptados con familias maravillosas, mantienen el contacto con nosotras como hijos que viven lejos. Los que han querido seguir estudios universitarios han tenido la oportunidad y son profesionales exitosos, igualmente que los que han preferido trabajos más técnicos.

Aún tenemos bajo nuestra responsabilidad a nuestros jóvenes mayores de edad, los que estudian semi-becados en Rusia: Moscú, Ghzel, Kazan, Bielgorod y también los que estudian en Guatemala en la Galileo, en la Mariano Galvez y en la U experimental en línea Rafael Ayau (en proceso de aprobación en CEPS) www.ieira.edu.gt
Y si los Juzgados de Menores lo permiten, seguiremos ayudando a los 12 jóvenes adolescentes menores de edad con todos sus estudios, dándoles casa, comida sana, diversiones y amor de familia. Ellos están con nosotras desde bebés y las leyes nunca permitieron que se fueran adoptados.
El Hogar Rafael Ayau pasará entonces a ser administrado para hacer caridad por Bienestar Social o por quien el Presidente designe. Si lo desean, continuarán las obras que actualmente se hacen pero bajo su dirección.

No todo está perdido. Esta manifestación de apoyo que hemos recibido y agradecemos mil veces, también da esperanza pues aunque en este momento pareciera que los guatemaltecos honestos perdimos esta batalla, los 7.1 millones de nosotros y la prensa en pleno (menos uno) vamos haciendo cambios razonables y sí se puede. Poco a poco, perseverando en lo bueno y lo noble, haciendo oír nuestra voz cuando se pueda, lograremos una Guatemala feliz.

Seguiremos trabajando donde se pueda, cuando se pueda, haciendo alianzas con personas con quien se pueda contar, como ustedes. Seguimos contando con ustedes en todo.
Mil gracias a todos. Sigamos adelante construyendo nuestro lindo país.

Vivamos con la dignidad de hijos de Dios nuestro Padre, siendo misericordiosos como Él es.

Y mantengamos la oración constante que nos protege: Santo Dios, Santo Fuerte, Santo Inmortal, Ten piedad de nosotros. 
Los recordamos en nuestras oraciones todo el tiempo. Cuentan con nosotras así como contamos con ustedes. Gracias. Bendiciones para cada uno y mil gracias de parte de nosotras las monjas católicas ortodoxas del Monasterio de la Santísima Trinidad.
Igumeni Madre Inés

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