While a member of St. James Missionary Society in Durán, Ecuador from 1988-1994, Fr. Jim Ronan founded Rostro de Cristo (RdC). Fr. Ronan realized the value of immersion with the poor as an opportunity to live more deeply the gospel, and wished to share this experience with people from the United States. In 1989, the first retreat group of high school students and teachers spent several days with Fr. Ronan, living in community with the people of Durán and experiencing the reality of Ecuador. A year later the first volunteers arrived to spend a longer period of time living with and serving the people.
For over 20 years, Rostro de Cristo has been facilitating volunteer missionary experiences and short-term immersion experiences in Ecuador. Our volunteers live simply in a faith-centered community and serve in Ecuador for one year. They serve in schools, parishes, medical clinics, after-school programs, and other community-based projects – just to name a few. Our retreat groups are invited to share in the lives of our volunteers and of the Ecuadoran people for 6-8 days.
Since the beginning Rostro de Cristo volunteers have live in Durán, Ecuador a sprawling urban city across the Rio Guayas from Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city. In August 2010 Rostro opened a new house in Mt. Sinaí, a large invasion community on the northeastern margins of Guayaquil. Over the years the volunteer community has also grown from its first year of only three in-country volunteers to currently 14 volunteers in two communities and a growing alumni network of over 160 former volunteers. Additionally, Rostro de Cristo hosts about 25 retreat groups annually from various high schools and universities across the country.