History of the Mission

History of the Mission

Dominican Republic

As part of his missionary calling Father Christopher Hartley went to work at the local parish in San José de Los Llanos in the Dominican Republic in September 1997, where he was based until October 2006.

During this time, thanks to financial help from Spain, the Mission of Mercy Foundation was able to begin four nutritional and educational centers in the poorest areas of San José de los Llanos Parish (batey Contador, batey Paloma, batey Gautier and in the town of San José de Los Llanos). These centers look after four hundred children daily.

In addition to meals education and nutrition, beneficiaries receive catechesis and preparation for receiving the sacraments after baptism.

Addressing another priority – income generation – the programme in batey Paloma included the successful launch of a vocational training centre for women. Here they receive courses in sewing, tailoring and dressmaking. Adult literacy courses were also developed to achieve standards certified by the Ministry of Education.


In 2002, the diocese of San Pedro de Macorís signed an agreement to build houses with the aim of relocating a large number of families that lived in truly inhuman conditions. With the help of other organizations and the Mission of Mercy Foundation, 90 houses were built at a cost of 12,000 Euros each. This allowed the closure of three bateyes and the relocation of 600 people to an urban area with sanitary and educational facilities.

These people were able to find alternative sources of employment to the traditional labour on sugar cane plantations. They now have respectable living conditions, water and electricity, as well as basic and higher education for their children.


Together with the Spanish Agency for International Development (AECID) and the Spanish NGO Cesal, the Foundation undertook the rehabilitation and supply of medical equipment to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Hospital for Mothers and Children and the subsequent health network that was created thanks to this project.

In November 2006, the hospital was giving outpatient care to nearly 7.000 patients. The hospital was open to all patients, regardless of origin or social status.

A small fee was asked for every consultation. The hospital employed eight specialized doctors, fifteen nurses and a community of five Mexicans nuns, who turned out to be the heart and soul of the health center. The hospital also had a social services office to help the most vulnerable people as well as a school for nurses on the top floor of the hospital with more than one hundred students.

Adult literacy

In March 2005, the Bishop of San Pedro de Macorís inaugurated a Centre for Evangelization in the San Pedro de Macorís jail. The cost of the center was 120,000 Euros and was entirely financed by the Mission of Mercy Foundation. The Center contains a chapel, two rooms for 50 students and an office that is available for the chaplain, lawyers and doctors that help the prisoners.

In collaboration with some inmates that had completed their higher education and two volunteer teachers, the Foundation launched a program to fight illiteracy and to provide education for inmates.


In 2007, the Catholic Church assigned Father Christopher a new mission in Gode, a city in the Somali region of Ethiopia. (The city belongs to the Apostolic Vicariate of Harar). As well as introducing the Gospel for the first time in this vast region of Africa, the Mission of Mercy Foundation supports different projects of the Catholic Church in the Gode parish, including:

  •  Construction of a primary school and health dispensary in the village of Ma’aruf, in Kalafo district. The school is finished and fully operational.
  • A nutritional center, primary school and health center in the lands given by the regional government to the Catholic Church in Gode (the project is currently being carried out and will be finished in summer 2014).