Friday, September 9, 2016

Friday 9 September 2016 Saint Peter Claver

A letter of St Peter Claver

The arrival of a slave ship
 Related image
Yesterday, May 30, 1627, on the feast of the Most Holy Trinity, numerous blacks, brought from the rivers of Africa, disembarked from a large ship. Carrying two baskets of oranges, lemons, sweet biscuits, and I know not what else, we hurried toward them. When we approached their quarters, we thought we were entering another Guinea. We had to force our way through the crowd until we reached the sick. Large numbers of the sick were lying on wet ground or rather in puddles of mud. To prevent excessive dampness, someone had thought of building up a mound with a mixture of tiles and broken pieces of bricks. This, then, was their couch, a very uncomfortable one not only for that reason, but especially because they were naked, without any clothing to protect them.
  We laid aside our cloaks, therefore, and brought from a warehouse whatever was handy to build a platform. In that way we covered a space to which we at last transferred the sick, by forcing a passage through bands of slaves. Then we divided the sick into two groups: one group my companion approached with an interpreter, while I addressed the other group. There were two blacks, nearer death than life, already cold, whose pulse could scarcely be detected. With the help of a tile we pulled some live coals together and placed them in the middle near the dying men. Into this fire we tossed aromatics. Of these we had two wallets full, and we used them all up on this occasion. Then, using our own cloaks, for they had nothing of this sort, and to ask the owners for others would have been a waste of words, we provided for them a smoke treatment, by which they seemed to recover their warmth and the breath of life. The joy in their eyes as they looked at us was something to see.
  This was how we spoke to them, not with words but with our hands and our actions. And in fact, convinced as they were that they had been brought here to be eaten, any other language would have proved utterly useless. Then we sat, or rather knelt, beside them and bathed their faces and bodies with wine. We made every effort to encourage them with friendly gestures and displayed in their presence the emotions which somehow naturally tend to hearten the sick.
  After this we began an elementary instruction about baptism, that is, the wonderful effects of the sacrament on body and soul. When by their answers to our questions they showed that they had sufficiently understood this, we went on to a more extensive instruction, namely, about the one God, who rewards and punishes each one according to his merit, and the rest. We asked them to make an act of contrition and to manifest their detestation of their sins. Finally, when they appeared sufficiently prepared, we declared to them the mysteries of the Trinity, the Incarnation and the Passion. Showing them Christ fastened to the cross, as he is depicted on the baptismal font on which streams of blood flow down from his wounds, we led them in reciting an act of contrition in their own language.

To help the sick poor. We need your help all the time but especially now as the Malaria season has started. We have plenty of the Anti malaria medicine (Artemether and Lumefantrine tablets) for adults and children over 5 years of age but for the babies, we send them over to the small hospital nearby. We have arranged with the nurses at the hospital, to have them treat the young ones. Often times they need injections of the Anti malaria medicine or the pediatric suspension. They have given us a discounted rate for the laboratory test and
the medicine but we don't have money to cover the cost. I tried begging them to take the babies gratis but the owner of the hospital (a very nice German lady) said she couldn't do that since she has to buy the medicines and the test kits.
We don't treat the babies at Nazareth Hermitage as it can be risky in case of a reaction to the malaria medicine.
When we tell the mothers that they need to go to the hospital they usually tell us they have no money. If we have put aside money for food, the helpers here will  always give up their main meal so we can use the money for the day to help the little ones. But that doesn't go far and then the same problem presents itself again. I have to tell the parents that we don't have the funds and they could try asking the nurses to help them....meds now, pay later! When they are leaving the hermitage I walk them  to the gate and then watch as they turn to go back to their village or home.
Malaria can be a killer and it seems children are more susceptible than the adults. Won't you please help to save these little one?
You can send your donations to:

Please make checks payable to "Monastery of Christ in the Desert"
Memo reads:  Hermitage sick poor
Address envelope to: Monastery of Christ in the Desert,
>                                      St. Paul's Hermitage
>                                      P.O. Box 270
>                                      Abiquiu NM 87510
My name should not appear anywhere on your check.
The Monastery receives the donation and will send you an acknowledgement for tax purposes (should you need it).
Then your check will go to St. Pauls hermitage (located on the Monastery grounds) and finally the donation will be put into my bank account and the little ones will get the help they need.


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