18 Dec 2016

50 Years in Liberia

“Serve and love Jesus with joy” (St Benedict Menni, Letter 441) This sentence of our founder summarises what we celebrated on the 8th of December in Monrovia. Fifty years of service, 50 years of hospitality. 50 years of joy springing from every single corner of our community in Liberia.

Sisters Hospitallers celebrated their Jubilee in Liberia from 8th to 10th December.

It was a great day for our community in Pipeline, Monrovia. It was a day to thank for the dedication of the sisters, workers and volunteers, and to remember all the children and patients, who are the reason of our mission, “the living image of Jesus”, in words of Saint Benedict Menni.

The Mass was celebrated by Most Rev. Andrew Jagaye, Bishop of Cape Palmas, and concelebrated by Lewis Ziegler, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Monrovia, H.E. Most Rev. Miroslaw Adamczyk, Apostolic Nuncio to Liberia, and Most Rev. Anthony Fallah, Bishop of Gabrnga . It was attended by many other priests, religious communities, workers and former children from the centre who didn’t want to miss the celebration.

It was a day to thank for the dedication of the sisters, workers and volunteers, and to remember all the children and patients, who are the reason of our mission.

Ana Lucia Castro, from the General Government; Sr Begoña Perez and Sr Ana Maria Oroz from our Provincial Government; and Sr Montserrat Esparza and Mikel Tellaeche, from Aita Menni Hospital (Gipuzkoa, Spain) were also present.

The Archbishop gave an emotional speech and thanked our Congregation . And then, African chants turned the Eucharist in a huge party.

The Mass was followed by speeches from the representative of Bernice T. Dahn, Minister of Health & Social Welfare, and Julia Duncan-Cassell, Minister of Gender; Sr Barbara Brilliant, Head of the National Catholic Health Council; and Mrs. Yan Gausi, Health Coordinator of the Archdiocese of Monrovia.

African chants turned the Eucharist into a huge party.

Former children from the centre sang a Spanish song they had learnt with the Sisters long time ago and current workers and volunteers sang another one. There was a Memorial theatre by workers and volunteers about St Benedict Menni’s life and the arrival of the Sisters Hospitallers to Liberia.

After lunch, the celebration was livened up by a soccer match played by Liberia Amputee Team as a Tribute to Dr. Kpoto and the Sisters Hospitallers activities at Pipeline.

 

On 10th December, there was a pilgrimage to Virginia, the first location of Sisters Hospitallers in Liberia, organised by the Diocesis of Monrovia.

Saint Benedict Menni Health Center is supported by the charity with sisters as well as financially. It focuses in primary healthcare services, with a specific Maternity area.

The Centre employs 27 staff and provides 24hour cover and continues with general medical services in the following areas: General OPD and emergency; maternity; maternal and child health (MCT); communicable diseases (TB, leprosy and HIV); pharmaceutical; and prevention of mother to child transmission.

The collaborative project ‘We are like you’ between the Aita Menni Hospital and the centre aims to “improve the health conditions of patients in the health centre, and treat patients with mental illness and/or suffering from substance abuse and mental handicaps.”

There have been several donations thanks to We are like you.

There have been several donations thanks to this project throughout 2015 and 2016 which helped to build and renovate the installations. the sisters will be able to provide services for the rehabilitation of people with psychiatric disorders, including psychological support for people that suffered from Ebola in Liberia.

50 Years of History

The Sisters arrived in Monrovia on the 13th of December 1966 in order to continue with the hospitaller mission of the Congregation. Sr Maria Jesus Nuñez, Sr Carmen Lasa, Sr Consuelo Zazpe and Sr Clotilde Elvira founded a home for orphans and abandoned children in Virginia on the 26th of that month.

Later, they moved to Pipeline, where they started the health centre and the rehabilitation centre for children with malformations and amputees, opened until after the civil war.

The centre had to close down during the ebola outbreak but the sisters reopened the Health Centre in April 2015 after building a triage area and an isolation unit to avoid as far as possible any infection.

The community in Liberia continues their work, making new projects come true and always thinking of what’s best for the locals. There were four of them in 1966, and 50 years later, Sr Florence Adevor, Sr Inca Gonzalez and Sr Colette Banka are the ones who carry on with the hospitaller mission.