Help for the care and medical treatment of 20 elderly religious sisters ACN Malta – Aid to the Church in Need
The congregation of the Steyler Missionary Sisters (“Servants of the Holy Spirit”) was founded in Germany in 1889 and grew very rapidly. Today they are present in 47 different countries. Initially, they were engaged above all in the work of education and health care, but, later on, pastoral work and other social and charitable tasks were added to their apostolate. Faced with the fact of a widespread dwindling of religious faith in Europe itself, the congregation has adopted a broader understanding of its missionary mandate. Today, “mission” does not simply happen in the traditional “mission lands” but also closer to home “outside the front door” so to speak.
The congregation is also present in Slovakia. Many of the sisters are active in the missions abroad, while others are engaged in the necessary work for the Church in their own home country. For although around 60% of the 5.4 million Slovaks are nominally Catholics, and around half of these still attend church on Sundays, there are some worrying tendencies nonetheless. Christian values are being ever more fiercely undermined within society, and the mass media in particular, most of which are still in the hands of the communists, continue to promote a relativist and liberalist world view. At the same time the mentality of “God, yes, Church, no!” is being widely pushed, as the media – just like in the West – tend to seize on every real or imagined failing within the Church and never report on all the good things.
20 elderly sisters, including 15 who are sick, live in the provincial house of the congregation, in the town of Ivanka, near Nitra. They began their lives as religious back in the time of the communist regime, in what was then Czechoslovakia, and struggled to follow their vocation and serve God and their fellow men despite the hostility of the regime. Now, they themselves are in need of help. Their health is steadily failing and they are increasingly in need of help. Some of the younger sisters are caring for their elder sisters, but they are unable to manage alone, and so had to engage seven lay carers to help with the work – but these have to be paid. On top of this, the cost of medication and medical attention is also constantly increasing.
Each of the elderly sisters receives a monthly state pension of 330 Euros, but this is nowhere near enough. The actual monthly cost is around 550 Euros for each sister. As a result, the provincial superior, Sister Lucia has turned to ACN for help. We have promised 3,000 Euros for this year.