AMERICA/BOLIVIA - Giving one's life so as not to abandon the elderly: the missionary witness of the religious who died of Covid

Saturday, 23 October 2021 covid-19   missionary animation   religious institutes   the elderly  

Oruro (Agenzia Fides) - Three nuns of the Congregation of the Hermanitas de los Ancianos Desamparados (Little Sisters of the Abandoned Elderly, HAD), died in Bolivia at the end of September due to Covid-19, infected while taking care of the elderly guests at Casa "La Sagrada Familia" (see Fides, 1/10/2021).
"The three Little Sisters of Oruro, Mother Maria Hilda Ateaga Flores (62 years old), Sister Asuncion Bravo Rivas (74 years old) and Sister Carmen Agip Sanchez (69 years old), gave their life for the elderly - says the General Secretary HAD, Sister Carmen Atán to Fides - because their constant concern was that they would be taken care of, especially the Mother Superior. Although she was told that she needed to be hospitalized for medical treatment, she gave priority to the elderly".
In the last two years, the Congregation has lost four other women religious, in addition to the three from Oruro, in different communities due to Covid-19, who offered their lives in order not to abandon the mission of proximity to those who society considers "waste", according to the term often used by Pope Francis. Other women religious of the Congregation, who are old or sick, have also died from Covid in the last two years.
Sister Tomasa Flores Machado (69), resident in Callao (Peru), used to go out to seek help to support the elderly, having no other resources. They say she had a special gift for this task. Sister Nubia Largo Chaparro (56), who lived in Penipe (Ecuador), was fragile, but she had great strength and courage. She distinguished herself for having been able to accept at every moment, from the hand of God's Providence, all the events of her life, like the latter, to see her earthly life come to an end at a young age.
Sister Elsa Bazan Medina (76 years old), lived in Gonzalez Catan (Argentina), she had always dedicated herself to caring for the elderly with great attention, sacrifice and love. Sister Maria Carmen Prada Jaimes (76 years old), lived in Naguanagua-Valencia (Venezuela), she had a special sensitivity towards the elderly, and she gave everything to those whom God entrusted to her. Her Superior said that she got up at night to check on those who were ill, and she took care of right to the end.
"Our mission during the Covid-19 pandemic - explains Sister Carmen to Fides - has continued to develop with great generosity, dedication and sacrifice, and in many cases with heroism, always dedicating ourselves to emergencies with great diligence, this has saved many lives".
The Little Sisters have never lost sight of the elderly at all times, infected and not infected, offering companionship, encouragement, religious assistance - she continues. They never stopped being present in Covid areas, well protected, and in all homes, supported by the Health Services, with health personnel (doctors, nurses and nursing assistants)".
Sister Carmen Atán expresses her gratitude to the health personnel "and to our good God and to the Blessed Virgin, who have been our strength. We felt this especially when there was no health care and the staff were on holiday. In these cases, which however were very few, the effort had to be doubled". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 23/10/2021)