Francis grew up detesting the sight of people with leprosy.

He, like others, went out of his way to avoid them. But, one day while riding his horse in the countryside, Francis saw a man with leprosy. As always, he attempted to look the other way. However, a sudden change of heart caused Francis to dismount his horse, approach the leper, put coins in his hand, and kiss him.

After this conversion, Francis of Assisi lived with people who had leprosy. He fed them, washed them, and wiped and bandaged their sores with gentle hands.

What changed Francis’s heart? Who did Francis encounter on the side of that country road? Francis saw Jesus.

Jesus transforms the world by changing the way people treat each other. Francis modeled that changed behavior for the rest of his life. Francis saw Jesus in everyone, so how could he treat anyone different than he would Jesus?

If we treat others as Saint Francis did, we can change the world too. As we do to others, we do also to Jesus.

Franciscan missionaries today continue changing the world by treating the sick and the dying as St. Francis did. They continue to see Jesus in the poor and afflicted.

Leprosy is still prevalent in many developing countries of the world.

Guinea-Bissau, in West Africa, is one of those countries. Franciscans were sent there more than fifty years ago to minister to people with leprosy. Guinea-Bissau is one of the poorest countries in our world. Our Franciscan hospital in Cumura treats patients afflicted with dreadful, life-threatening diseases. Leprosy, AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis are common.

This year the hospital has been overwhelmed by the number of patients who have arrived seeking emergency care. The hospital treats about 50 new patients every day! Many people walk for miles on jungle trails to get to our hospital.

Years ago, a young man named Romao Cloque made that long journey. He had been suffering from lesions and sores on the soles of his feet and in his nose and eyes. He felt a numbness in the affected areas and an overall loss of muscle strength.

At our Franciscan hospital in Cumura, Romao was diagnosed with leprosy and received treatment. He was hospitalized for a year and a half. Unfortunately, the disease had progressed significantly before he sought treatment, and he lost both of his feet.

Romao now lives in the leper village adjacent to the hospital. Our missionary friars provide housing for some of the survivors.

Your Support Saves Lives

Another example is a young mother who recently brought in her 5-month-old daughter, Divanica, to our hospital. Divanica cried often, stopped eating, and was always nauseous.

Lab tests at the hospital revealed that the infant had a serious infection and needed to be hospitalized for treatment. After some time, she recovered fully and is now a happy, healthy child.

Divanica’s mother, Ivaldina, considers her daughter to be a “gift from God,” and she wants you to know that your support of our hospital saves the lives of many children.

I ask you to open your heart once again to support our missionary friars working in our hospital in Cumura. They work all day treating people with life-threatening, dangerous diseases because they see Jesus in each one of them.

The friars pray every day for good and generous friends like you who support their work. It costs about $600,000 a year to operate the Cumura hospital. This includes the pharmacy, caring for the lepers during and after treatment, caring for children, and feeding all the patients and their families.

Allow Jesus to transform your life. Look at the people in these pictures and see him! Please send a gift today to help provide lifesaving food and medicine for our Franciscan hospital in Guinea-Bissau.

Please DonateSelect [22TYCH] We Can Change The World Too – Cumura Hospital – Guinea-Bissau

With a humble heart, I thank you for your continued kindness and faithful support of our Franciscan missionaries. You and your intentions will be remembered by Franciscan missionaries as we celebrate the feast of St. Francis.

Peace and blessings,

Brother Andrew Brophy, OFM

Executive Director

P.S. With deepest gratitude, I pray that our Lord blesses you for generously helping Franciscan missionaries provide medicine to the poor who are suffering from life-threatening diseases.