April 23, 2019

A Hospital with a Shrine Atmosphere

from Sr. M. Márcia Carmo da Silva

“‘Santa Casa’, a holy house –

and in a holy house one should live holy. He who lives holy is holy.”

These words of Father Joseph Kentenich during his visit to the Santa Casa Hospital in Londrina, Paraná, Brazil, on April 12, 1947, became our motto.

“In spite of the difficulties that exist, I would not exchange the work in Santa Casa for anything. There is an atmosphere here that cannot be found in any other hospital,” said Sister M. Gláucia Couto, who is responsible for the pastoral work of the staff. She explains that the presence of the Blessed Mother and the Schoenstatt spirituality give the hospital a Shrine atmosphere. Our hospital “Santa Casa” can accommodate almost 200 patients and the doctors have more than 150 consultations every day.

This atmosphere is also a fruit of the weekly prayer and reflection that the pastoral ministry offers to all the co-workers and professionals of the hospital. “Every week I visit the different working areas and pray with the staff. I do this in all three shifts: morning, afternoon and evening. It may seem little, but the plant is watered and in a year I will be able to discover many fruits,” says Sister M. Gláucia.

Even people who do not go to church and people of other religions participate in pastoral activities, the Sister says: “We must present Schoenstatt in a way that is understandable for all people, because Schoenstatt’s spirituality is not only an answer for those who belong to the Church. It is a profit for all to know this richness”.

The Covenant of Love transforms and creates bonds

 At the end of 2018, about 50 professionals who work in our hospital sealed the Covenant of Love with the Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt. This created human bonds between people from different fields who had previously met only in the corridors, but who did not know each other. The common preparation for the Covenant of Love takes place during working hours.

“The Covenant of Love gives me strength to strive for holiness. I talk to my work colleagues about the Capital of Grace, and everything I do during the day I sacrifice so that it may be transformed into graces for needy people,” says Helena Maria de Jesus Tomazi, a co-worker at Casa Santa.

“The Covenant of Love answers twelve hours of work and sacrifice,” said Sister M. Gláucia and continued: “For the patients, the co-workers are the face of the Blessed Mother. Often they can help them to say yes to the plans of Divine Providence or to difficult therapies”.

The pastoral work that the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary do in the hospital supports the training of health professionals and helps them to fulfill their tasks with a supernatural attitude.

“The Covenant of Love helps me to love my neighbor, to listen to him with respect and to say a word of consolation. Through the Covenant of Love, I have learned to see Christ in my neighbor,” says Nurse Dafne Danielle dos Santos.

“The Covenant of Love gives me strength, it helps me to follow Mary’s example and to be patient in my work. I try to help the patients to find a meaning in pain and illness, I talk to them about God, about Jesus and Mary“, says Alessandra Aparecida Claudio Matsumura, nursing technician.

To be Mary’s living presence

Since their foundation here in 1936, the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary have been active in nursing and pastoral care. “It is very beautiful to be close to the people and to be able to help them. Through a warm welcome, I can transmit the presence of Mary. This is a grace that God has given me,” says Sister M. Gláucia.

She explains that it is a challenge to find a way of expression that can be understood by the 900 co-workers from different realities and worldviews. But the apostolic zeal urges us to find ways to communicate Schoenstatt’s spirituality to others. “The Blessed Mother helps me to find a place among the co-workers. What I am doing is radiating the happiness of being a Sister of Mary. I am very happy here,” concludes the Sister.