As a young man, Saint Francis always looked away when he came upon a stranger who was sick. He went out of his way to avoid the person.
But Jesus transforms the world by changing the way we see each other and treat each other. Jesus transformed Francis, and the next time Francis came upon a leper on the road, he jumped off his horse, gave the leper some coins and kissed him.
What changed Francis’ heart? What did he see when he looked? Francis did not see the leper, he saw Jesus.
From that time onward, Francis saw Jesus in everyone, so how could he treat anyone differently than he would treat Jesus?
After this transformation, Francis of Assisi lived with people who had leprosy. He fed them, washed them, and wiped and bandaged their sores with gentle hands.
If we treat others as Francis did, we too can transform the world. 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.
Unfortunately, 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 sixty 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 people who have arrived seeking emergency care. They often walk for miles on forest trails or dusty roads to get to our hospital.
There are 122 beds and, many times, there are just not enough! As a matter of fact, they had to turn the chapel into a morgue
In one wing of the hospital, there are fifty-five beds for HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis patients, seventeen beds for those with leprosy and other skin conditions, and five beds for recovery. In an average month, thirty-seven HIV patients, adults and children, are hospitalized. Their hospital stays average about twenty-six days.
The general hospital wing has thirteen beds for maternity patients, ten beds for obstetrics, and twenty-three pediatric beds. There is also an outpatient clinic and an emergency room.
The high demand for medical care has depleted the available inventory of medicine.
Father Victor Quematcha, OFM, the hospital director, has requested an emergency grant of a $137,000 to replenish their depleted inventory of medicine so they can continue treating poor villagers suffering from life-threatening diseases.
I had no choice but to help, so I asked our treasurer,
Fr. Joy, to send an emergency check for $25,000 right away. There is no way to squeeze $137,000 of emergency funds out of our already tight budget.
I pray you will understand the urgency of our current situation. Can you offer your prayers and financial support today to help me raise an additional $112,000 to purchase emergency medicines for our Franciscan hospital in Cumura?
Please help as best you can. Any gift would make a difference!
It costs about $374 a day for the medicines used at our hospital, a little more than three dollars for one patient per day.
Many people think leprosy is a disease of the past. If only that were true! Although there is now a cure for leprosy, early diagnosis and treatment are essential. A gift of only $60 would provide the medicine to treat 20 people suffering from leprosy, AIDS or any other life-threatening disease for one day. A gift of $374 would provide enough medicine to treat all the hospital patients for one day!
Just like St. Francis of Assisi, seeing Jesus in everyone and serving the poorest and most helpless are top priorities for Franciscans today.
Allow Jesus to transform your life. Look at these people and see him! Please send a gift today to help provide lifesaving medicine for our Franciscan hospital in Guinea Bissau.
With a humble heart, I thank you for your continued kindness and faithful
support of Franciscan Missions.
Peace and blessings,
Bro. Andrew Brophy, OFM
P.S. With deepest gratitude, I pray our Lord blesses you for generously helping
Franciscan missionaries to provide medicine to the poor suffering