Missionaries of Mother Teresa: Christmas with HIV sufferers

December 19, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

In the Shanti Dan male compound, Christ is born in the smiles, in torment and desire for life of AIDS patients. Thanks to the care of the Missionaries of Charity brothers, the patients improve and learn in turn to take care of others.

Christmas with HIV sufferersKolkata, December 17, 2012: Dear friends – Our Shanti Dan compound has become very beautiful. The beauty of the newly built road, beautifully painted new buildings, and the surroundings are beautified by flowering plants and green trees. And above all the beauty of this place is the people who are living here. They make everything beautiful. Their smile, laugh, talents, their longing, anguish and cries are the realities of this place. In this reality we brothers and sisters are able to see, we are beautiful. And we are able to see Christ born again in this beauty, a new Christmas every day.

We Missionary of Charity (MC) brothers have made the journey of 50 years. We were founded by Blessed Mother Teresa on March 25th 1963. Our journey had its beauty of light and darkness. From this journey we have seen the wisdom and miracles of life. We have contemplated the mystical dimension of light and darkness. In the early years of our journey we were enthusiastic in serving the poorest of the poor, slowly we were drawn to what is logical and analytical in our service to the poor. Now we realize the beauty of our life with the poor is an integration of wisdom, miracles and contemplation of what is mystical, logical and analytical in our approach to the poor; and being enthusiastic. It is in this integration we are made beautiful as MCs seeing the beauty of God in others and so our lives become Christmas – for those in need.

Early in March I saw a 60 year old widow crying in the hospital and asking the Doctor, “Will my son Kesto Majhi live?” Her 27 year old son weighing only 25kg was lying on the hospital bed in the last stages of HIV infection. He had developed large bedsores and was unable to move. The doctor had no answer but gently nodded to her and she turned and asked me “Will my son live?” And her son also gazed at me not saying a word. A silent gesture and a powerful gaze longing for life and hope. We accepted him in Shanti Bhavan. On the day he arrived in our home, one of our brothers from Africa seeing him asked me “Will he live?”. I said, “Yes”, but he said “It is impossible”.

Here in Shanti Bavan, it is in the midst of hopeless situations we find the wonders of God at work. Kesto Majhi slowly improved his health. His bedsores healed and we put him on a small regimen of treatment for his illness and his face started to shine and in him arose hope and confidence. He slowly started to walk and his health improved. Now he is helping others who are sick in our home. His smile and his mother’s smiles are a celebration of Christmas for us.

It is same with Gurmeet Singh, who travelled a long distance with his wife from Ludhiana to find a bed in Shanti Bhavan. The hospital in Ludhiana did not give him any hope for survival and his parents did not want him. His hands and legs were crippled and he was not able to move by himself. The same Gurmeet Singh walked out of this home after 4 months, to resume his work as an electrician. We have many stories of people who are living in the shadow of death finding life and love. Their lives, their smile and their joy are a Christmas every day.

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined” (Isa 9:2). The prophet Isaiah had foretold with astonishing insight about the hope for the world. This insight of the prophet brings alive the most hope-infusing event in human history. Christmas signifies celebration of hope.

The beauty of our Shanti Dan compound is the celebration of giving hope. Our sisters are able to bring hope to 320 mentally sick women, 62 mentally and physically challenged girls, 22 HIV/AIDS women and children. The Sisters’ care brings life to Agenes, a mentally challenged young girl, and makes her capable of gently caring for Pratiksha, who is mentally and physically challenged.

Our work here in Shanti Bavan within the compound of Shanti Dan with men and children suffering from HIV/AIDS is a miracle of God’s love working through our brokenness and weakness. Throughout the year our home was full to its capacity. Our life and work with them is an inner flowering, inner freedom, inner bliss, a benediction.

Let your Christmas celebration be an inner flowering, inner freedom and inner blessing to you, to your family and to your community and to all whom you meet in the New Year. Wishing you all a Happy Christmas and a joyful New Year.

– yesudas mc

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