The tenderness of God

The six countries of the Near East Province are rooted in the Bible: “Cyrus, king of Persia [present-day IRAN], is charged with building a house for the Lord in Jerusalem”. “Yet a little while and [LEBANON] will turn into an orchard… delivered from gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind will see”… HE was born in Bethlehem [PALESTINE]. He grew up in Nazareth [Israel]. He flees with his parents to [EGYPT] and HE converts Paul on the road to Damascus [SYRIA].

The Missions of our 28 Communities are diverse: Educational (In Egypt, Syria and Lebanon); Sanitary: Hospitals and Medical-Social Centers (Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine and Syria); Nursing homes for the elderly (Iran, Lebanon, Israel); Homes for children with special needs (Israel, Lebanon). To this must be added almost in the 6 countries: the Youth Movements (especially the JMV) and especially home visits, aid to people deprived of basic necessities and the promotion of women.

KOBAYAT Medico-Social Center

At the Order of Malta’s medico-social center in Kobayat in North Lebanon, a region neglected by civil authorities … a program allows us to offer drugs that are currently unavailable in pharmacies, especially for incurable diseases. I am struck by the patience and the solid faith of the people who come to our center and never stop thanking God despite the poverty and even misery for some. Seeing a man crying with dignity because he can no longer meet the most basic needs of his family when he had a good salary and was well off financially, it breaks my heart! When I hear the people I serve telling me: “You reflect, My Sister, the face of God”. A as I honnestly do not really recognize me in what they say, I hear a call from the Lord to love Him more, to live more and more the charism of our founders and to bring all these people into my prayer. May the Lord have mercy on our country Lebanon and help us to live the Christian virtues of solidarity, forgiveness and mercy!

Sr Eliane SALHAB FdlC.

Sacred Heart Hospital – BEIRUT

Today, August 15, 2021, feast of the Assumption of Mary: The thought of being with Mary at the end of time gives us courage at this moment, when we sometimes seem a little lost in the face of the “catastrophes” which follow one another in Liban ! On the evening of the explosion at the Port of Beirut on August 4, 2020, we received around 200 people in the Emergency Department almost at the same time: wounds needing sutures, fractures to operate, head trauma to watch out for. A “crowd” of people seated or stretched out, sometimes on the floor, patiently waiting their turn, without asking for anything, without complaining, perhaps not knowing that they no longer had a home, or, for sure case having lost a member of their family.The sisters of our community, in our various meetings, shared what challenged us last night in the Emergency Room, or in the hospital: we saw the face of Christ:

* In that of Sr. Sophie, our companion, face disfigured but still conscious. Very affected yet conscious, she succumbed to her injuries later in the night;

* In that of a young lady, having lost her husband in the explosion. She kept saying, “It’s my fault, it’s my fault. . . Because she had asked him to accompany her to an appointment at a hospital near the port; her husband was killed next to her. Coming to our hospital with several deep wounds, she kept on crying for her husband and did not worry about herself when the surgeon was suturing her own wounds;

* In the faces of some patients, who, on leaving after receiving the necessary care, expressed their gratitude to the nursing staff, despite the state of shock and their suffering. . . . An experience we will never forget. Likewise, these gestures of solidarity manifested around us are unforgettable. We were challenged by this dedication and spontaneous collaboration, each one giving himeself totally:

* Three doctors arrived, themselves injured. They washed and changed their clothes, one was sutured, and then took care of the other injured.

Three new interns who had joined the hospital just the day before sutured dozens of patients. They were helped by the day staff who stayed on until the next day helping the night staff.

* Our sisters who serves as nurses, circulated to offer water to those who asked for it; all laundry, maintenance, admission, laboratory and imaging staff were also present to meet the needs of patients and staff. Some soldiers from the Lebanese Army were helping us to maintain order around the Emergencies. Then in the evening and the following days, messages of solidarity arrived from all over the world, assuring us of their prayers. We had a Painful and hard experience, but we were not alone.

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