This past Sunday, many Catholics recognized the Feast Day of Saint Blaise, who is remembered for healing people from their illnesses. To celebrate his life, crossed candles are used for a healthful blessing and protection over sickness and trouble.
In the spirit of St. Blaise, Cross Catholic Outreach’s ministry partner, the San Lucas Rural Health Project in Cochabamba, Bolivia, tirelessly provides health care and health education to impoverished families living in remote, indigenous mountain communities and to homeless street dwellers living in the city. An outreach of the Franciscans, this important ministry is helping reduce infant mortality, typhoid fever, malnutrition and other ailments among the rural and urban poor. They also administer valuable vaccinations and promote hygiene and health awareness. Cross Catholic helps cover the modest salaries of the medical, dental, administrative and support staff, so thousands of children and families can receive care that would not otherwise be available.
One of those children benefiting from this project is 4-year-old Melani. Melani would accompany her mother to the health center every Saturday, even though it was miles from their home. She would play with the sisters and other children while her mother received care. But one day her face began to swell and become very sore. The pain intensified and she was unable to eat. Thankfully, Melani was able to receive immediate care from the dental team at the San Lucas Rural Health Project, who discovered she had multiple cavities and an abscess. Under their watchful eye, the pain and swelling eventually healed and today she is back to being a happy, healthy kindergarten student.
Melani says she still likes to go to the health center because they speak of Jesus and always pray with her mother. Like St. Blaise, the medical and support staff at the San Lucas Rural Health Project are not only blessing those in their care with medical mercies – they are also blessing them with the love of Christ!