Jean Colarusso


Jean Colarusso moved to La Jolla with her husband and three children in 1973 and visited Casa de las Pobres in Tijuana. For 25 years she has worked with the poor by adopting and educating families. On her visits to Mexico she brought supplies and assisted in providing medical care. She convinced UCSD Medical School to send medical students and local doctors to donate time; a priest donated land and Jean raised the money to build the clinic that continues today.

For over 20 years Jean has worked with Sister Antonia at the La Mesa Federal Penitentiary in Tijuana. She built a TB Sanitarium and workshop where inmates are able to sell wood carvings. She made mattresses from newspapers and taught schools to keep the prison supplied. In 1998 Jean met a Nigerian priest who asked for help building a boarding school for orphan boys. By selling the bricks, she was able to complete the structure. The Bishop of Nigeria took notice of her talents and asked her to help finish a Cathedral started 20 years earlier. From Jean’s sale of imaginary bricks, the Cathedral was done by January 2006.

Through her fundraising, over 100 Nigerian children call the Holy Family Children’s Center home. St. Kazito Minor Seminary is the only secondary school in Nigeria with internet. The Norween Walsh program to help Widows now has over 50 residents: the co-op raises over 200 chickens, sewing machines allow the women additional income. Jean is helping to double the size of an abandoned Nigerian church and will build another HIV center and hospice in a country with the highest rate of AIDS. A girl’s boarding school in Ida is also under construction.



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