Soon we will celebrate Thanksgiving, gathering together with family and friends to express our thankfulness for all God has given us over the past year..but we also remember the many families and individuals who are struggling and need help seeing God’s love at work in their lives.
Here in the U.S., we have many things to be thankful for like access to good healthcare. In the Central American country of Guatemala, a large number of people are gravely suffering with HIV/AIDS. Due to the stigma associated with the disease and the high cost of treating it, many people have neither the medical nor the moral and emotional support that they need.
For 30 years, Sister Dee Smith, MM has worked hand in hand with the HIV/AIDS community in Guatemala to bring them medical care and emotional support. She runs St. Mary’s Hospice to allow terminal AIDS patients to live their remaining time with dignity, in a caring and supportive environment, in as little pain as possible. And because of your generosity, they will have even more to be grateful for this year.
Many who benefited from Sister Dee’s decades-long investment of love and compassion originally came from extremely poor families and suffer from poor nutrition and malnutrition.
“Our mission of the hospice is to offer compassionate, quality care to anyone who has been marginalized because of HIV and who cannot or will not be cared for in an adequate way either by family or friends.” Sister Dee says.
Our objective is to provide an opportunity for people with HIV to become responsible for their own health care and to return to their communities as productive leaders. We educate the people with HIV, together with their families and caregivers, about issues of responsible sexual behavior, care for their health and self-esteem. Many times, these same HIV+ people assume local leadership roles and promote the rights to health and education in the local villages.
Maintaining a hospice and an outreach operation is an expensive undertaking, even in a developing country like Guatemala. Sister Dee’s work is not self-sustaining, and help is needed from generous and caring givers like YOU! She is currently trying to expand the facility’s produce farm, which helps alleviate the food insecurity of families. The pandemic has also made it harder for many people and families to contribute financially.This is how Maryknoll Sisters on mission change the world — one life at a time — and this is what you enable when you share even a portion of your bounty with us.
Thank you so much for joining the Sisters in protecting human dignity and caring for God’s creation in our “One Earth Community”. By helping to make this possible through your generosity, you make yourself a reason for giving thanks this Thanksgiving, and always! God bless you for your compassion.