Statement From The Founder

Brothers and sisters in Christ,

Greetings from Guadalupe Gardens missionary formation center San Marcos, Nicaragua. As many of you know I have spent nearly the past decade of my life involved in missionary activity. Not only was my discernment a call to mission life, but to the building of an actual mission from the ground up, in the spirit of the New Evangelization. This has been a daunting, yet rewarding, task. Without the loving support of my parents and a handful of key people The Lord has Providentially placed in my life, it would have been an impossible task!

So, here we are ten years later with the initial question answered: “can a layperson just buy a piece of land in a foreign country and build towards a future mission?” Unequivocally, the answer is YES! Sensing that the vision I had would not be well understood at first I just decided to take the initiative, make the investment and work towards the completion of the inspiration. For the first five years I visited Nicaragua often, but lived in the US in order to finance this back burner mission vision. After five years I finally gave my true fiat to The Lord. I would love to say it was a resounding “YES Lord, I will sell everything and go to Nicaragua!” It was more like, “Don’t you know I am going to die, how will I survive?!?” “If you really want this Lord you will have to sustain me.” And that, my brothers and sisters, he has.

The Lord wants this mission. It is a small part of His plan in this new springtime our beloved Pope St. JP II was always talking about. We can’t just sit around and wait for the priests and nuns to do it, it is all of our task. If there is any waiting, I believe it is the hierarchy waiting for us to mobilize and do our part! 50 years ago in the second Vatican Council the bishops wrote us some beautiful documents reconfirming for us our true identity, who we are as the Mystical Body of Christ and how we should relate to this post-modern world. In his encyclical ‘Mission of the Redeemer’, JPII recounts perhaps the most startling statement coming from the Council. “Those who are incorporated in the Catholic Church ought to sense their privilege and for that very reason the greater obligation to bearing witness to the Christian life…” They should be ever mindful that “they owe their distinguished status not to their own merits but to Christ’s special grace; and if they fail to respond to this grace in thought, word and deed, not only will they not be saved, they will be judged more severely.” (Lumen Gentium, 14)

I didn’t know at first that the investment I would make here in Nicaragua would be with my very life! And I shudder to think had I known, my fi-at would have been more like a go-not! But then again, what is our Christian existence all about anyway?! Don’t we want to give it all?? Don’t we want to be Saints??

Get back to the Garden!,

Paul Rush

How To Serve

We started accepting applications for our Summer Missionary Internship in the spring of 2016. This Missionary Formation Program is a grassroots, pre-formative, program for college students or those over 18 years old who may be seeking to escape the drudgery of routine, to get outside of oneself, to truly experience reality, to wander “into the desert” with the Lord, to serve, to build, and/or to love. This program is flexible in what missionaries will be doing. The formation center is still under construction, so missionaries will have the option to construct, serve the local neighbors with their gifts and talents, serve at a boys and girls home, nursing home, or simply just to pray or learn Español. Interns may have a choice to stay at the missionary formation center or with a local family. Contact for more information!

-Joseph Harrington, 2016 Spring Break Missionary (Ave Maria University Graduate 2016)

“My trip to Guadalupe Gardens with my best friends during my senior year Spring Break was more than what I had expected. It was my first time out of the United States and it was a real culture shock. The beauty found in the simple and humble life at Guadalupe Gardens and in Nicaragua really cut to the true meaning of life: To become a saint and to get to heaven. Guadalupe Gardens gives one a very true understanding of what truly matters in life. I would highly recommend going!”


-Daniel Fuentes, 2016 Spring Break Missionary (Ave Maria University Graduate 2016, Saint JP2 Culture Award Winner

“My experience at Guadalupe Gardens was quite unique. I was sick from the moment that I got there, and it only got worse. I felt very weak and restless. I found out towards the end of the trip that I had a rash that was caused due to dust mites. The trip was very tough for me, but I am glad I went through it, because I was forced to give until it hurt. I truly learned there how to offer up my suffering for others. I now know that I can give until it hurts.”

-Patrick Harrington, 2016 Spring Break Missionary (Ave Maria University Graduate 2016, President’s Award Finalist)

“My experience at Guadalupe Gardens truly opened my eyes to the spiritual poverty in my own life. God was truly present in all those who work for Guadalupe Gardens, the humility and total trust that they have in God was very inspiring. What touched me the most was all the people that I came in contact with who had truly suffered in their life. These people showed me the joy of Christ by how they treated me. They helped me realize that the most important thing in life is to have God, nothing else can fill our deepest desire, to be loved. God does not call us all to live the life of a missionary as some people do, but he does call us to have a missionary’s heart. God came to save souls and this is the most important thing in life. We are all called to different paths, but all headed the same way. Christ waits for us with open arms and for all those he puts in our life.”

-Kendel Jordan, 2016 Summer Missionary (Ave Maria University Graduate 2016

“Heading to Nicaragua, I remember asking God for a summer that was an encounter rather than an experience. I’m so thankful that He answered this prayer through Guadalupe Gardens. Every day was incredibly different but I always ended each one in awe of how full it was. We didn’t have to go far in order to find opportunities to serve. Sometimes our mission was taking children to Mass or visiting a nursing home or rehab center. But other days it might look like visiting a neighbor, cleaning up the yard, or speaking with a person we just met on the street. At the mission center we lived simply and in solidarity with our neighbors. This meant that there was less to hide behind and more time to pray, so it was much easier to see the intense and active battle between good and evil going on for our hearts. I am grateful for all of the ways God taught me about myself and His love for me through this. I believe with all of my heart that God wants this mission to continue to grow and shape lives the way it has for me. Please pray for Guadalupe Gardens!”