CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Sister Milagros Tormo is the board president at the ARK, a center and emergency shelter for young people.
She has contributed to the lives of many children while she's been in Corpus Christi for nearly 50 years.
Tormo says she loves making a difference and remembers the path that got her where she is today.
"At that time I didn't know of a word in English, so I had to learn and I had to know the culture," she said.
That was in 1971, when she was 23 years old. In a new country, she left behind her family and everything she knew in Madrid, Spain.
Her first assignment as a nun was in El Paso, and then made her way to Corpus Christi six months later. But her journey to be a sister in a consecrated life began when she was 19.
“There were so many adjustments, but the people were so good with me, the sisters and the community,” said Tormo.
She says the missionary sisters of Jesus, Mary and Joseph as well as the community made her feel at home, so she was able to work towards her mission.
“I don’t want anybody to see me and I don’t want them to see a dollar sign but for them to see a child on my forehead,” she said.
Tormo has worked towards that goal for the last 21 years, since opening ARK, a caring space for abused, neglected and displaces children and teens.
Working with Executive Director Delma Trejo, they have grown from housing 13 children in their retreat house to building a new space for up to 37 children.
“In my case, God has given me everything that I needed to help that child because he needs me,” said Tormo.
But Tormo says she can't take all the credit. Volunteers at ARK work every day to continue raising funds, accepting donations and of course taking care of the children.
“The plan is for me to be here and be part of this team and continue doing whatever I can,” she said.
While she's thousands of miles away from the place she was born, Tormo said Texas and the Coastal Bend have embraced her.
There are currently 14 children under ARK's care. The oldest is 5 years old and the youngest is just a few months.
The organization is accepting donations.
You can call (361) 241-6566 or donate through the Coastal Bend Foundation, Day of Giving happening on Nov.9.