Sr. Helen Santamaria, Sister of Loretto, Receives 2016 Women of Impact Award

September 28, 2016

Sr. Helen Santamaria, SL, received an El Paso, Inc. Women of Impact award for her significant impact on our community. Sr. Helen is the founder of El Paso Villa Maria, a homeless shelter for women. “One night in 2003, I asked God what made Him think that I could found a homeless shelter. His response was loud and clear: ‘Helen, what makes you think YOU are doing it?’"

An awards breakfast to honor her and the other awardees – Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria, Mary Kipp, Marcela Navarrete, Judy Robison and Patty Tiscareño – was held on September 28 at the El Paso Country Club. The event, underwritten by Hunt Communities, was sold out. Sr. Helen Santamaria ('61) and Patty Tiscareño ('71) are graduates of Loretto Academy. 

Sr. Helen ended her acceptance speech with these words from Ron Rolheiser's 10 Commandments for Mature Living: "Live in gratitude and thank your Creator by enjoying your life."

The 9th Annual Wine & Tapas fundraiser for Villa Maria is set for Saturday, October 22 from 6-10pm at the Epic Railyard Event Center (2201 E. Mills Avenue). Attire is cocktail chic. Music will be provided by FM Junkies. Tickets are $50 per person. For information and tickets:, or call 915.433.1677. Gifts to the El Paso Villa Maria Endowment Fund can be made on the Foundation's website. 

Villa Maria is a residence where women who are homeless and without children can transition from crisis to self-sufficiency while living in a beautiful, safe, supportive and spiritual community.

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