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Sisters to the barrios serve patients 24/7

By Myrna Bermudo

Mother Blanca Ortiz, SdeM, Siervas de Maria community superior in Lagonoy, attends to a patient during one of their medical missions. (contributed photo)

“We are there twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, we are on call 24/7 for the patients, “ said Sr. Rechille Atole, SdeM, of the Siervas De Maria (Servants of Mary) in Lagonoy. “ We always think of what we can give to the patients to alleviate their pain and suffering. We care for them with joy and with so much patience to allow them to feel God’s healing. We are always smiling for the patients so that they will feel that God is full of love and mercy and will not abandon them.”

Siervas de Maria Ministras de los Enfermos (SDeM) or Servants of Mary, Ministers to the Sick, is a congregation based in Lagonoy, Camarines Sur. They run the Sta. Maria Soledad Birthing Home and Health Care Facility located in Zone 1 Dahat, Lagonoy, Camarines Sur.

Although their apostolate is based in this town, they serve patients who come from other parts of Bicol to seek their medical services.

Servants of Mary, Ministers to the Sick is a congregation founded in Spain in 1851 by Saint Maria Soledad Torres. They continue to live the spirit of their founder in their ministry to the sick and the dying.

Sr. Rechille Atole, SdeM said that “we see the presence of Jesus in every patient we visit and care for. We consider ourselves as angels of love. We visit the poor dying patients in far barangays. We do it with love, simplicity and humility always with the help of Mary, under the title, Kagalingan ng mga Maysakit.”

They have free health services offered through their clinics, they minister to mothers and their families through their birthing home, and they reach out to the sick through home visitations since 2001. They are often called sisters to the barrios because they walk across streams and climb mountains just to reach those who are sick.

“We are ministers to the sick for free. Most of our patients belong to the poorest of the poor, the least and the vulnerable. The birthing clinic is open 24 hours for mothers and for those who need to be assisted in their last moments, or, the dying. We rely on divine providence thus, payments are not accepted. In-kind donations are okay. We accept any in-kind donation from our poor patients, they would bring camote, string beans, banana and other vegetables,“ Sr. Chona Bejo, SdeM, said. “ We also help patients gain spiritual healing more than physical healing.”

They are inviting young ladies to join their ministry to the sick.”I would like to encourage the youth of today to be sensitive to the needs of the poor, to give time for silence, be conscious of the cry of the poor in our time. This can only happen if one is attentive to silence. Through this, you will know what the Lord is trying to trying to tell you what to do,” Sr. Rechille Atole, SdeM, said.

The congregation’s health services include medical missions, building houses for the poorest of the poor, 24 hours birthing clinic, newborn screening, hearing test, X- ray, HIV test screening, medical consultation, ultrasound, pedia consultation, free laboratory tests. These services are announced in their social media account- Siervas De Maria Lagonoy.

Medical missions were conducted this month of July together with Doctors of Phileos from Spain. July 17- barangay Sta. Maria, Presentacion; July 18- San Sebastián; July 19- Sabang, San Jose; July 20-21 in Bocogan, North Lagonoy and July 24-27 in Dahat, Lagonoy.


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