About us

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Our Founder

Sister M. Stromeyer

True to her calling as a Sister of Mercy, Sister Marian Strohmeyer (9/10/1927-4/17/2012) was active in health care ministries and hands-on advocacy for refugees. Upon her arrival to the Valley, she lived on her family’s homestead to care for her ailing father and became the Region 8 Coordinator for the Regional Medical Program for the next three years. During that time, she started a clinic for low-income persons, which became Su Clinica Familiar in Harlingen, which is still operating today.

But in 1979, she received a phone call that would change her ministry direction for more than a decade and her life. The call was asking if she could house two women from El Salvador. During this time, Sister was also busy with church matters, as she was called upon to facilitate a newly established program for the education and formation of lay ministers for the Diocese and parish. This position kept her busy for nine years. 

In 1986 she was named to the Texas State Board of Health. During the six years in that position, she became more familiar with the needs of HIV and AIDS patients. A place to get terminal care and short-term housing was at the top of the list. Thus Casa Merced now had a new purpose and clientele, and later, in 1989, Comfort House was born as a place for people to die with dignity. She brought the AIDS Quilt for display in the Valley. In 1999, she co-founded Hope Family Health Center, which provides counseling and primary health care.