Las Obras: The Most Vulnerable
The most vulnerable. We have heard it time and time again, COVID-19 wreaks havoc on the most vulnerable. Now, we are seeing it in a very stark and painful way. There is a COVID-19 outbreak in La Virgen de Socorro, the Obras’ home for, as the Franciscan brothers say, the ‘incapacitated and abandoned.' But these nearly 300 residents are not abandoned. Not by God or by the humble Franciscan brothers who care for them.
Information continues to develop, but as of now, three residents have died, as has one elderly priest. As is often the case with COVID-19, those who died became ill and succumbed quickly. Now, Las Obras is working to contain the spread, caring for those who are showing symptoms and those who have been exposed. We, together with Los Amigos Pro-Obras, are doing what we can to support the brothers related to testing, protocols, and medicines, where needed. It is a challenge, of course, as the majority of those who live at the Obras’ Virgen de Socorro are sufficiently medically and physically challenged that wearing a mask and isolating is not an option. Therefore, the obstacles in managing this situation are great, and the ability to contain, inherently limited.
For those of us who have walked through the halls, who have held the hand of one of these precious residents, received their open smiles, seen the tenderness with which the Obras staff care for them, our hearts are breaking.
This special place is called La Virgen de Socorro, Our Lady of Succor. Meaning Our Lady of Relief, Comfort, Rescue. May all of us pray for relief, comfort, and rescue for those who live in Socorro, those who work there, and the Franciscan brothers who care for them all.
As is characteristic of the Franciscan brothers, in spite of their own challenges, they always turn to prayer for others. This is the message Padre Jesús sent to us when we reached out to offer our support:
“We are truly going through very difficult times, but we feel the solidarity of many people. Thank you for your prayers. Yes, we need them. May God reward your love and generosity for our poor and needy. We pray for all the Faith In Practice team, that they be found to have both physical and spiritual health.”
Padre Jesús, in the midst of crisis, is praying for us. For us.
And, from Padre Luis, “Thank you very much. Sending a hug. We are all joined in prayer.”
May each of us lift up Las Obras, the brothers, the residents, and all those who are suffering in Guatemala in ways difficult for us to imagine. May we pray for both their physical and spiritual health. And, may we truly be joined in fervent prayer such that our brothers and sisters feel that joining of our prayers with theirs in the depths of their hearts.
We will provide updates to the situation when they become available here. Please note that the information is fluid and ever changing, so we ask for your patience related to available details.