Couverture 1

The Daughters of Charity in Brazil during Covid-19

"Instead, you are to open your hand to him and freely loan him whatever he needs." Deuteronomy 15:8
May 26, 2020
Soeur Anagilsa Sampaio Bentes
Filles de la charité

The Province of the Daughters of Charity in the Amazon is located in the north of Brazil. The Communities of the Sisters are present in the 3 states: Amazon, Pará and Roraïma. In this difficult time of pandemic, many people are seeking medical help from hospitals in the capitals such as Manaus, Belém and Boa Vista.

Our sisters remain at the heart of the missions, scattered throughout the 20 communities. According to their possibilities, they bring help to the poor where they are, knowing that the Brazilian health authorities recommend social isolation to the whole population. These are basic aids such as food products that are very important to boost the immune defenses in this time of pandemic. They also bring prescription drugs; payments for rent, gas, electricity and water bills for families with no income. Even with the fear of contamination, we still find "guardian angels" delivering these supplies where we could not go. Thank God!

We have a hospital and a maternity hospital in Cametá, a town in the state of Pará, 236 km from the capital Belém. This health facility, which operates in partnership with the municipal government, assists people in rural areas far from the capital with medium-complexity relief. The Sisters devote themselves to the sick and the mothers.Unfortunately, as in other communities across the country, we are seeing the collapse of the health care system. It was already in bad shape, but now it is becoming unsustainable. We feel helpless. The coronavirus patients receive first aid from the centre's health team and then return home with medication and instructions to follow during the time of infection. We have already had many deaths and we feel the sadness and revolt of the families in the face of this pandemic.

We are also touched by another mission of support to the home for the elderly "Saint Vincent de Paul" in partnership with the Vincentian Family of Belém. This long-standing institution is administered by AIC Belém. The residents are very poor, they do not have the means to take care of themselves and donations have become rare at this time of health and economic crisis.We have also contributed to the service of homeless people and drug addicts, which two Religious Congregations have initiated. This Association called "Enfant de Belém" helps the most destitute on the street and those without resources or accommodation who wish to be treated. At this time, unfortunately, the number of people on the street is growing in Belém. To remedy this, we have helped renovate a house to house these homeless people and to enlarge the association's reception areas. In addition, after repairing the association's two cars used for collecting material donations or food, we organized a tour to build up a stock of medicines and non-perishable food.

As soon as the beginning of social isolation was imposed, a shortage of surgical masks followed. We therefore took the initiative to make "home-made" masks to be distributed free of charge to the poor, first for the homeless and then for all those in need.We pray every day for those who are sick with the virus and their families, for the care teams in hospitals and for all those who have lost loved ones during this cruel pandemic. 

May the Good Lord protect us!