Sisters Hema Santhosa, Prashanti Mandapati, Alisha Anthony daringly volunteered to give their service to the COVID-19 affected patients for a week in St. Philomena and St. Martha Hospitals respectively. They were deeply touched by the experience. They share the following reflections.
Sister Hema writes, “The first day, I was very cautious but the dedication and commitment of the nurses to their duty changed my attitude. They didn’t do just as their duty but their approach to the patients was gentle and very kind. Though it was a different experience it was a fulfilling one. I didn’t have many words to speak to the patients but had a smile and gentle touch which I could offer them freely. They appreciated the willingness to reach out to them and I felt blessed with their prayerful blessings on me.
“My sincere gratitude goes to the Almighty God for this privileged opportunity. When I informed them about volunteering to my siblings they weren’t happy, but my second brother’s words affirmed and strengthened me. His words were simple but very touching, ‘My sister is doing for what God has chosen her for and He will safeguard her.’”
Sister Prashanti shares, “I am grateful to God for giving me an opportunity to respond to the needs of the people. Soon after my final vows, it was this call for me to respond to the present need of the times. As our charism calls us to dare risk our lives, I felt this moment of life and death crisis is a privilege to take a risk in my life to serve the people who are sick in the hospitals. People in the hospital are living like orphans though they have families and loved ones. Through my presence, I became a family member to them.
“This was my first experience serving in a hospital. My duty was in the ICU ward of St. Martha’s hospital and St. Philomena’s hospital, Bangalore in the ICU ward. We volunteers would take care of all their needs. I used to change the oxygen masks, feeding them food and giving water, getting the bedpans from time to time, gave them medicines, helping them walk, and giving massages to patients. My duty was for eight hours. Since it was the ICU I always saw the patients struggling for life. A breath that is taken for granted has now become a necessity for life. Patients and the nurses were grateful to us for our service. One of the best rewards for my service was the blessings I received from the patients for our service. I feel happy and satisfied with my work.
“At times it was difficult to stay those many hours in the PPE kit. But I realized the pain and struggle of the nurses and doctors who are trying their best to save the lives of people for two years. Since I have seen their struggle and gone through I have great respect for them. It was a lesson for life. I realized the value of life and how we need to be careful to save one’s life and the lives of the people around us during the pandemic.
“I am grateful to the Chandapura community who encouraged us and stood by us during our volunteer work. Sisters showed their concern and love through everyday messages and prayers. I am also grateful to all the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth who supported us by their prayers.
“I am grateful to the Camilius fathers and Fr. Anil (youth commission director) who took good care of us during our stay and service.”
Sister Alisha shares, “The Covid -19 pandemic has taught the entire human fraternity a big lesson to respect God’s given life. Where the whole world is suffering, I challenged myself to serve and help people in the hospital. It was really a tough job. But by God’s grace, I was able to help and talk to the patients. I feel blessed to get this opportunity and it was really a heart-touching experience. I tasted the satisfaction of my vocation in helping the sick and the helpless.”