“Thank you Sisters” – says young Henry, undergoing medical treatment in London
Annually, over 100 families, spend time in London undergoing medical treatment and seeking the help and support of Maltese Sisters, nuns from the Augustinian and Franciscan Orders who dedicate their time and resources to helping these families as best they can by easing their ordeal.
Henry Mamo, an energetic three-and-a-half-years boy has already undergone nine operations, the first operation having been carried out when he was barely one year old.
We met Henry during a visit by President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca when she visited the Augustinian Sisters in London where he is currently residing together with his parents. His innocence can be seen in his smile as he waits to undergo a kidney transplant towards the beginning of the coming year, a kidney donated by his father.
His parents, Lorinda and Randolph, explained that Henry was born with “prune belly syndrome”. This is the third time that Henry has undergone treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital. His parents said that besides the excellent medical treatment, there is also the help and support of the nuns who care for them as well as Franciscan priests. They said that medical treatment is important but encouragement and support are also highly important.
“Thank you sisters,” said young Henry.
They are currently the only family resident at St Monica House. Sister Maria Buhagiar explained the nuns did their best to ease the burdens of traumas that families have to carry. There are currently two Maltese nuns and two nuns from the Philippines carrying out their duties.
She said families were often heard saying that although they are far from home they have at least found a home away from home and such comments were appreciated by the nuns as a reward for their work in easing such heavy burdens by providing a congenial home and a family environment.
Much the same work is carried out by the Franciscan Nuns who have been providing similar support since 1960 in London. Their London house currently has six Maltese and Kenyan nuns, the oldest one having been there for 33 years. They said that their residents find great solace and there have even been people who have converted.
Mother Veronica Catania said some visiting residents often tell them it has been years since they entered a church and also tell them that when they entered the house they found a new peace and solace that enabled them to resort to praying.
Also assisting patients in London are two Conventual Franciscan priests, Fr Mario Sant and Fr Stephen Borg who have been in London for two years. Father Mario said that each story is a new and important story. Some people are just Out Patients there for a medical check up but there are others who may spend even six or more months there. He said the atmosphere is that of a family atmosphere.