Architects of Change Monthly Highlight: Brigitte (Beas) Ponce ’05

Brigitte (Beas) Ponce ‘05 graduated from The Academy of Our Lady of Peace in 2005 and then headed to New York City where she completed a two-year musical theater program. She then transferred to Marymount Manhattan and graduated in 2010 with a degree in International Studies. After she completed her thesis in Honduras, she was inspired to move to Columbia, South America in 2011. It was there that she pioneered the opening of “Columbia Sin Fronterias,” a literacy school in a poor barrio in Santa Marta. She returned to San Diego to earn money and fundraise for the school.

It was at this time she began working with homeless deportees in Tijuana. In 2014, she approached her then pastor, Bishop John Dolan, for help from St. Michael’s Parish to give a deportee an extremely needed surgery. Her passion and mercy for the poor inspired Bishop Dolan, who created a ministry at St. Michael’s Poway, known as the Corporal Works of Mercy Ministry, and selected her to be the director.

“With his blessing, and the financial support of the parish, he allowed me to create the ‘Mercy Prosthetics’ program, which provides homeless amputees living on the streets of Tijuana with a life changing prosthesis,” Brigitte explains.

Through a relationship with Hanger Clinics throughout San Diego, who donate materials for her program (prosthetic knees, feet, etc.), Brigitte has helped over 80 homeless amputees over the last few years.

“I have personally pulled amputees (most of who fall off of the train trying to reach the U.S.) out of the disgusting Tijuana canal, and have seen their dignity restored through this incredible ministry,” Brigitte says.

Brigitte now works at The Office for the Missions at the Diocese and continues to be heavily involved with her Corporal Works of Mercy Ministry at St. Michael’s. “I believe my Catholic education played a heavy hand in the drive behind this ministry, and I would like to encourage the student body to strive to look out for those who have no one to look out for them,” Brigitte says.

Thank you to Brigitte Ponce ’05 for being an Architect of Change and moving humanity forward through her gifts and talents and sincerity in honoring human dignity.