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Caring for Body and Soul

March 1, 2021

The World Day of the Sick which was instituted by St. John Paul II is celebrated on February 11, feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. On this day, we pray for people who are sick, suffering and lonely, as well as for those who care for them. We offer a special prayer for those who suffer from the prevailing coronavirus pandemic.

The theme of this year’s XXIX World Day of the Sick is: “You have but one teacher and you are all brothers” (Mt 23: 8). In his message for the celebration, Pope Francis reminds us of Jesus’ criticism of “those who preach but do not practise” and that “none of us is immune to the grave evil of hypocrisy… Before the needs of our brothers and sisters, Jesus asks us to respond in a way completely contrary to such hypocrisy. He asks us to stop and listen, to establish a direct and personal relationship with others, to feel empathy and compassion, and to let their suffering become our own as we seek to serve them.” These words make us realize that we have to be with every person who suffers, surround them with care and support.  

The charism of St. Vincent de Paul is deeply and concretely expressed in the wholistic caring for people, which encompasses concern for the body and, above all, the soul. In the Nursing Home in Kurozwęki, run by the Daughters of Charity, the World Day of the Sick was a special day of prayer for all its residents. During Holy Mass, the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick was administered and the Sisters and Staff entrusted them to God, asking for them peace of heart and the grace of experiencing suffering in union with Jesus. This concern for the soul is the most important element in the care of the Sisters who, together with the lay staff, surround the sick and the elderly.

However, they also take care of the body. On February 18, after a fairly large amount of snow which covered the ground, the Sister responsible for the Nursing Home, together with other Sisters and the Staff, organized a sleigh ride for the residents. The fun lasted for over two hours. More than 20 residents participated and they were divided into two groups. The first group went for a sleigh ride and then, by the fire and under a special bower, they fried and ate delicious sausage with bread. While the first group was enjoying this activity, the second went for a ride. The weather was perfect!

Full of joy and gratitude to God for the beauty and wonder of nature, the participants returned home.