Heavenly Hosts

Posted on July 20, 2017 under Storytelling with one comment

” Father Len” with an unconsecrated host from Emmaus


Mental illness knows no boundaries.

On my recent travels to India, I spent a lot of time working with the poor, the dispossessed and the marginalized. In a country of 1.325 billion people, the sheer number of people needing help is staggering, to say the least. In many parts of the country, there is no formal welfare system as we know it in North America. Many charitable organizations step in to fill the void.

As many of you already know, I spent four months in Kannyakumari , at the southern most tip of India, volunteering with an order of Catholic Sisters called The Daughters of Mary ( DM ) . These amazing women provide social services, medical assistance and educational services to those most vulnerable.

Funding is a constant challenge for groups like these as government support and foreign donations have all but dried up. They are charting a new course,  looking to try and become as self-sufficient as possible. One example of this is at one of their facilities that assists women living with mental illness. Emmaus is a facility that houses 100 mentally ill women. Many of these women have been abandoned by their families and have lived on the streets until being rescued by the Sisters.

The Daughters of Mary also understand that people who have mental illness need help and therefore accept all women regardless of religion, language, state or caste. All are welcome where “ love shines as care.”

The occupational therapy unit at the home provides programming that has a dual benefit: it gives the women work skills and also provides necessary income to help with the sustainability of the home. They make and sell bread, candles, rosaries and also hosts used in the many Catholic churches in the region.

I visited the home on a few occasions. Much of the equipment is antiquated. The hand operated host making machines can only supply a fraction of the hosts required to service the needs of the churches. A new, modern piece of equipment could increase the output tenfold. The increased profitability would be a step in the right direction towards self- sufficiency. Check out this video: https://youtu.be/hCjtAWy1soc

This new piece of equipment costs $6,000 Canadian. If you would like to contribute to this worthy cause, you can do an e-transfer at investmentindia2017@gmail.com or stop by the Credit Union in Antigonish . There is an account set up in my name called “ Investment India.”  The Sisters have already received a donation of $2,000 from the C.W.L. in Antigonish through the Opportunity Shop.

The Daughters of Mary are making a difference in the lives of these women. So can you.


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One Response to Heavenly Hosts

  1. Sheila redden says:

    Hi, there should be more than 2000.00 in there by now. I wasn’t very successful with the Port Hood effort. Teresa Van Zutphen said they were already supporting families as we do in Antigonish and that I might approach the CWL but Irene says CWL groups are hit jpon for too many things. So I just made my own contribution for now. An updated report from time to time would be good as it serves both as a reminder and an incentive to continue supporting.

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