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Little Gabriela

September 25th, 2009 No comments

During ‘post’, or the preparation for the great feast of Easter and especially during the final days before that feast, our thoughts were very much on the sufferings of Jesus for our sake and also on the sufferings his mother must have borne especially during these days. Daily, we witnessed scenes of suffering mothers as they cared for their ill children. Always I was conscious that Christ’s Passion continues in our world!

One case was that of little Gabriela, a patient of Budimex (Marie Curie) Hospital. Mother and father were there, sharing the pain and, daily, I tried to help ease the suffering even a little by visiting them and offering a little coffee or tea and joining them in prayer – a great privilege. But God took little Gabriela home, after much suffering, on Holy Thursday. How could one comfort those grieving parents? Words seem useless at this time. Lawside Romania Project came to the rescue for we could give very necessary help to this poor family.

However, I felt that our greatest support was when we stood with the family to lead the coffin out to the car. Yes, we need more people to be around to support our brothers and sisters in their loss.

 

Sister Mary Aloysius

Freezing January, 2006

I could hardly believe it when I heard on the news that seventy six people had died on these streets in only three days. They could not survive at -25 deg. C, a record even for Romania which usually has cold winters. How can we help? That was the question in all our minds. What can we do for the families and individuals whom we know would be in trouble in such circumstances? We began by providing little blankets to the abandoned children in Budimex (Marie Curie) Hospital.

Not very far from Marie Curie Hospital is a family which lives in dire circumstances – no heat – no light – no water. We tried to imagine what it must be like to live there. We were glad to be able to send them hot soup, food, warm blankets and jumpers. They were so grateful especially as there are children.
Roxana, our paralyzed orphan friend, rejoiced to receive a warm blanket, warm jumpers and food. She could then better endure the cruel, freezing days.

One day, early in the morning, we received a phone call from the family of eleven children, crying for help because their gas had been cut off therefore no heating. All were frozen – what to do? We acted immediately, bringing them warm bedclothes, food and money to pay for the gas and have the heating restored – indescribable joy for them and happy moments for us.

Visiting the family of four invalid orphan boys we realized that the single source of heating (the stove) was completely broken down. Next day we engaged a workman to build a new stove and it was such a joy to provide wood for that fire!
Even if it is so cold outside I was so surprised to see children begging in the street, and, when I say children, I mean 7 or 8 years old. Unfortunately, we could only offer them warm hats and jumpers and a little money, but they need much more!

In the Oncology Department of Budimex (Marie Curie) Hospital, we met Mihai. He is an 18 year-old boy with a very sad anxious face. This is understandable because one of his legs will be amputated. Added to that, he told us he is coming from a very poor family which is not able to pay even the heating of the house. We were very impressed by this case and soon we helped them to pay the cost of heating. We then visited the family and provided food and clothes for the other four children. This family will remain on our permanent list of needy people, even if Mihai will not be with us.

Speaking of needy people, we have to remember our orphans or youth in need of our help to live and study. Raluca, Alin, Florin are very good students and it is a privilege for us to help them in their education. Also in this period we provide for them with warm clothes, food and money to pay for heating. It is hard to live in Bucharest without the support of parents.

We know Bunica (grandmother) for 14 years. She struggles to help her big family begging at the hospital gate and outside the church every weekend. Even in the coldest weather she comes with two grandchildren to get some food for other seven children remaining at home. We take them to a warm room and give them soup or tea plus sandwiches. We also make up parcels of food for them to take home. Warm clothes, blankets and money for fuel have been accepted by Bunica with tear-filled eyes… and we feel better!

Today we found out that Teodor and his brother will leave the hospital and go home to Vrancea – one place with the lowest temperature in Romania. Teodor is a 16 year-old boy who had a terrible accident and now is completely paralyzed. His story is one of the saddest stories I have ever heard. He had the accident working in the woods with his brother to make some money for his very poor family. We felt we must help this family to pass this so sad period by giving some money and food. And some warm blankets and clothes. At a special request from the doctors who were also impressed by this boy’s story we provided a new wheelchair. This is not compensation but it is a good help for his ruined life.
Angela, Rosemarie, Mrs. Teodorescu and her son, Mrs. Tanase, Adrian’s family and many others have been helped to pass this so cold month of January 2006.

Every morning we see in front of the Budimex (Marie Curie) Hospital or in front of the church or simply in the street frozen older or younger men or ladies calling for help. We try to do a little for everyone and the boxes full of good things sent by Sister Mary Therese are a very good support, we wish to do more…

God help everyone in the street and so we pray for a warmer February.

Sister Mary Aloysius

We have your prayers

“THE PROOF OF LOVE IS IN DEED”

CATHERINE McAULEY

 

Time is simply flying and each day is so filled here that there isn’t much of an opportunity to sit and write individual letters.

 

In the Budimex Children’s Hospital there are seven floors with sick children in each one. We visit where the needs are greatest and Floor 5 is top priority. Here are children from tiny babies to 18 years olds, all with cancer in one form or another. To bring joy there is our constant aim and it is amazing how these children appreciate dolls, cars, books, perfumes or jewellery.

Ill Children at Budimex Hospital in Bucharest

Children at Budimex Hospital in Bucharest

 

 

 

Conditions regarding the hospital building were drab – to say the least – when we came here in 1991. Doctors’ salaries were low and their spirits too! Thanks to our Convent of Mercy Headquarters in London and to our Mother General and team and many big supporters we were able to bring big changes in beautifying all the departments in the Emergency entrance, several surgeries, Intensive Care Unit and the toilets on two floors. In the Recuperare (Rehabilitation Unit) we made beautiful the three rooms and toilets where children, awaiting for various therapies have a home for several months or longer.

 

Apart from the Budimex Children’s Hospital, we are involved in helping a parish with care for very needy, elderly people. For these we have set up a “Meals on wheels” daily programme and, for children of the street we provide free meals daily in a local restaurant. It is amazing to see how much the lives and faces of the elderly have changed having that guaranteed meal daily! Prior to this programme, some had missed many meals and seldom had they had meat to eat!

 

‘Nazareth’, our Sisters of Mercy apartment for little abandoned children, is still a very happy place and some of our older orphans have done well at work e.g. Virgil and Nicusor, two brothers for whom we provided an apartment eleven years ago, are doing well, Virgil is on his seventh cruise around the world as a waiter on a cruise-ship while Nicusor has a job in Ireland with Kerry-Foods. They have let their apartment here to a lawyer.

 

Two other orphans Jan and Florin have gone to university and I had great joy a few days ago when a young boy, working in a large shopping mall as a cleaner, came to me saying “Sister – do you remember me – you gave me money outside the Cathedral?! I have left the orphanage and have a job here. I get £60 a month and I live in a rented room”.

Rays of sunshine like this are an inspiration!

 

Daily, however, we are met with family problems. The latest is a family of nine children ranging from 7 to 22 years. There are two sets of twins! Mother died last December and father disappeared. The 22 year old twin girls promised mam they would care for the family. They are making a brave effort, keeping them at school and all seem bright and intelligent.

The ceiling of the girls’ bedroom is falling down and the stoves for the heating are not working. This will be a big problem in winter as the floors are earth and walls are damp.

 

Meantime we know we are never alone for the angels surround us and we have your prayers!

 

Sister Mary Aloysius