When we met, there were two moms who were struggling, who brought their needs to the church. Culture and language limitations sometimes seem to lead to these encounters.
I would like to share with you, a case that required our immediate attention. It exemplifies how community can show mercy. I am grateful that Silvia has allowed me to share her story.
At my meeting with leaders of St. Peter’s in Torrington, someone said “Arturo you have never met Silvia. She is part of our Parish Social Ministry team. At the moment she and her five month old baby girl are at CT Children’s Medical Center in Hartford”. So I asked if she and her baby were ok. I felt that something was not right. I asked what was going on with her and I was told the baby is very ill. Silvia is from Torrington so she is sleeping at the hospital and does not have enough money for food. The baby had been hospitalized several times and was once even brought in by helicopter.
I asked, “What does she need, what are you doing to help her, what can I do, what can the church do”?
I thought of the Gospel reading from Mathew 35:41 “I was sick and you visited me”. I thought of parishes that were local: Our Lady of Sorrows, Saint Augustine and St. Rose in East Hartford. Someone from those Social Ministries might be able to help her.
I stopped by to visit her with Mrs. Ana Landskron, who is a volunteer in our office. My heart was broken when I saw such a beautiful baby lying down very sick. I asked Silvia “How can we help”? Ana said to Silvia, “Let’s pray Silvia - for you and the baby”…, and we started praying. The Lord was present and it seemed that somehow peace came to all of us.
First Silvia said that she was often hungry while in the hospital sleeping near the baby. She also said that it was hard to have her concerns translated. At that moment a nurse walked in the room asking if there was anything that Silvia need help with. Silvia asked the nurse “Please, can Arturo translate something for me. She wanted to let her know that the baby was not eating much. She also wanted to know if she was able to take her baby back home. “I can have her sleep with me, hug her, and feed her anytime” she said. She was sad to find out that her baby was not able to leave the hospital at that time.
The very next day I called friends from other social ministries at parishes in the Hartford area asking for help. God is good! Many parishioners from those parishes came forward to help her, to support mom, and bring food for her while she is there. They offered company and lots of prayers. It pleased me so much to see how parishes can come together to help someone in need. Thank you to all who visited and took care of Silvia and her baby.
Parish Social Ministry coordinator
Office for Catholic Social Justice Ministry