October 2019 has been designated “Extraordinary Mission Month” by Pope Francis. In anticipation of that, we would like to give you an update on one of our long-standing fruitful overseas missions.
In Panama, where Sister Gerri Brake, M.M. has served for most of the past 30 years, there is good news and bad news for elderly people.
The good news is, during that time, health care and nutrition have improved, and there is more political and social stability. That means people are able to live longer in general.
Unfortunately, a long history of poverty in the country, plus the corruption of past governments, means that few facilities have been put in place to care for them, especially those with special challenges like cancer, heart disease, dementia, diabetes, blindness and deafness.
Sister Gerri works with the New Life Foundation, which operates a residential care facility for about 80 elderly men and women. Many of the residents have health problems and many of them have no families that can or will support them. The reality is, many would not be alive today without the support they receive there.
It is through the generosity of people who care like you that New Life is able to continue operating and providing service to the people who rely on it.
Meet Ronald, a 60-year-old man who uses a wheelchair after losing both his legs. “He is agile in all ways except walking,” Sister Gerri says. “From his wheelchair he helps others through his interest in them, and helps pastorally to lead daily rosary devotion. We are his family.”
Among Sister Gerri’s hopes for the future is to open a hospice care facility for those who need special care and comfort as they near the end of their lives. “Contributions for our building improvements would be so welcomed, so we could continue to improve and adapt our structures.”
As we prepare to honor Extraordinary Mission Month, we hope you realize that all of our missions depend as much on the support of friends like YOU as on the work of the Sisters themselves.