Friday, April 24, 2015

2015 April

Happy Easter to all Benefactors, Volunteers and Friends!

Impart to our souls, O Lord, the Spirit of Thy love, that those whom Thou hast fed with the Paschal Mystery may be united in harmony by Thy merciful goodness...

2015 March

Daybreak in Tacloban
In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us 
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death 
and to guide our feet into the way of peace....

((((((((((((  +  )))))))))))  

Block Rosary Started in the Bunkhouses
One hundred and ten families living in the bunkhouses joined the block Rosary.  All of these families are beneficiaries of the Rosa Mystica Health Mission.  
May the Mother of the Poor be their constant refuge.

Patients Hoping to Get Relief Through the Mission
From Samar, this boy was brought to the mission in Tacloban
in the hope of obtaining free surgical repair of cleft lip and palate.  

Patient with breast cancer sought help for the surgical removal of breast with cancer. She came with Dr. Maire from Southern Leyte to Tacloban hoping for relief. Mission volunteers brought her to Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center for biopsy and surgery.

Alvin from Samar with a radical cyst on his chin... waiting for his surgery schedule.

Baby Bernardo on February 2015

Baby Bernardo on March 2015

Dr. Maire in the mission chapel in Tacloban
discussing with a mission volunteer the follow up care for a patient in Southern Leyte
waiting for the surgical schedile
Waiting for free medicines
A mission patient.  Hungry.  One among many. 
Hungry family.  The father works as a security guard but his salary is low and comes irregularly.  He can barely feed his children from his earnings.  The mission augments the children's food.
He is asking the mission to help him find other sources of income.

Free meal for patients on the farewell to Dr. Maire Nesta Nic Gerhailt. 
Farewell, Dr. Maire!  
We cannot thank you enough for your dedicated service to the poor.  We pray that God will bless you always.
May the road rise to meet you.  May the wind be always at your back.  May the sun shine warm upon your face, the rains fall soft upon your fields.  And until we meet again, until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His Hand.
If I only had wings, I would fly, I would fly to the sky, I would fly through the winds and beg you to come back...
 Farewell, Doc Maire.

Thank you for sharing our simple joys!!!


 Bon Voyage Virginie and Floriane!
 Thank you for your generous help!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

2015 February: Rosa Mystica Health Mission in Tacloban

Page construction is going on... please expect changes...


The mission was held at the Tacloban City Convention Center, popularly known as the Astrodome.   The office of the City Mayor generously waived the rental fee and allowed us access to electricity. 

Three thousand, nine hundred and thirty two patients were served in various departments within eight days of mission work.  Because of the free laboratory and diagnostic tests and free surgery (as needed), very many patients lined up but we had to turn down many of them because we could not serve everybody.  

Medical Services
There were three doctors at the pediatric section:  Dr. Emely Lagare from General Santos City, Dr. Loan Phan from the United States of America, and Dr. Ma. June Viray from Iloilo City.  Each of these doctor had an assistant who also served as interpreter.   

The pediatric pharmacy served by French volunteers and two interpreters.
The pediatric pharmacy was manned by 
Magali Burguburu, HR Manager from France
Ombelline Burguburu, Nurse from France
Claire Garnaud, Nurse from France
Anne Maelle Bouillaud, Teacher from France
Caroline Vergez, Nurse from France
and interpreters:  Floralyn Ghela, Rostillen Callo, Rosmar Ordovas, Ralph Brieva, Rose Ann Magcuro

At the Adult Section, there were three general practitioners:
Dr. Maire Nesta Nic Gerhailt from Ireland, assisted by Ronielyn Lagdamen from Tacloban
Dr. Patrick della Bianca from Switzerland, assisted by Sheryll Castor from Quezon City and Joward Ibuyat from Quezon City
Dr. Jean-Pierre Dickes from France, who came with two French physician assistants Dr. Roxane Losco and Dr. Nancy Steinfeld
Paulo Niccolo de Veyra - Nurse from Taclobn and Sunshine Isla - Nurse from Manila - acted as interpreters for Dr. Dickes

A neurologist:  Dr. Didier Genoud from Switzerland, assisted by

A dermatologist:  Dr. Rob Casquejo from the United States of America, assisted by Elizabeth Lopez - Nurse from the USA and Marguerite Pardoe - Nurse from France

An ophthalmologist:  Dr. Elaine Baens Araneta from Manila, assisted by 

An orthopedic surgeon from the Philippine Army came to lend a hand at the last day of the extension clinic.

At the Dental section:  Dr. Nelda Nisperos.  
She was assisted by a dentist from the Philippine Army for a short while.

          Dr. Nelda Nisperos at the Dental Section. 

The adult pharmacy behind the mission altar.
Faithfully serving the adult pharmacy were
Brigitte Coulange, a Doctor of Pharmacy from France
and her assistants:
Bernadette Dickes, Nurse-Midwife from France
Romaine della Bianca, a Nurse from Switzerland
Sophie Challan-Belval, a Secretary from France
Melinda Khor, a Businesswoman from Malaysia
and two Filipino interpreters from the Philippine Army

Spiritual Dimension

The foreign volunteers were exemplary in their patience and endurance.  First, food was exotic.  And many suffered abdominal problems due to the food.  Also, there was a problem with the toilets, although the condition was much better than the previous year.  The toilets at the basement of the Astrodome were already accessible, so the primitive portalets were thankfully rendered unnecessary.  However, there was a problem with the water supply.  There were plastic drums with stagnant water that was used to flush the toilets but there was no water for hand washing.  Bottles of alcohol placed in the lavatories for hand sanitation had a magical way of disappearing.  And the person in charge of monitoring the sanitation of the toilets often got sidetracked with other tasks.  

2015 February

Follow Up Visit to Borogan, Eastern Samar

2015 January

Ocular Visit to Eastern Samar

Mission to Borongan, Eastern Samar

Saving a Foot

2014 December

A Supertyphoon Barraged Towards Samar and Leyte Again!
It was with heightened alert that the patients and mission staff prepared to meet Typhoon Ruby.  An evacuation center was organized in Southern Leyte and the patients and faithful living along the coastline were evacuated.  Rosary vigils were conducted in various mission areas across the country to ask for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary to beg for the mercy of God.   After anxious prayers and waiting, cold wind from Siberia interacted with the brewing storm and reduced its intensity.  Still, it wreaked havoc everywhere it passed.  Many towns in Samar were battered.  

Dr. Maire Nesta conducted a medical mission in Southern Leyte while the preparations for the evacuation was under way.

Thanksgiving Procession
December 8:  Patients and faithful in Tacloban, Southern Leyte and Genenral Santos City organized thanksgiving processions in honor of the Immaculate Conception.  Free food was made available to the evacuees.

Ocular Visit to Typhoon-Ravaged Areas
Immediately after the typhoon, ocular visit was conducted to check the conditions of the various mission patients in Leyte and Samar.  Thanks be to God, everybody was safe, poorer than ever, but alive and happy.  So it was determined that they needed only food assistance.  Relief donations coming would therefore be given to directly hit areas in Eastern Samar.  The area was rebel-infested so it was necessary to proceed with caution to ensure the safety of the mission team in delivering relief goods.  Coordination with the military was slow because they had to prioritize the government efforts in clearing the devastated areas and repairing roads and bridges. Due to the long delay, the relief mission was scheduled on January.  

2014 November

Adult Baptism and First Communion

An adult from the mission village in Kawas, after years of preparation and trials, received the Sacrament of Baptism and after a week received his First Communion.

Ignatian Retreat for Mission Staff and Volunteers
The mission staff and volunteers were granted vacations in order to participate in the spiritual retreats.  "If God does not build the house, they labor in vain who build it."

Special Patients 


2014 October

First Mission Visit of the New District Superior, Fr. Karl Stehlin

Rev. Fr. Karl Stehlin came to Gensan and met the mission staff.  He asked for regular reports and expressed his support for the apostolate. He also catechism children and the Eucharistic Crusaders and First Communion to 5 children.

The children wishing Fr. Stehlin a happy trip to Davao.

Arrival of Irish Volunteer Dr. Maire Nesta Nic Gerhailt in Tacloban
Dr. Maire Nesta Nic Gerhailt offered her free services for the victims of typhoon Haiyan.  With all patience and courage she set up her clinic in the hot closet that used to serve as the chapel sacristy.  She braved the frustrations of the primitive healthcare delivery system in the area:  poor sanitation, inadequate laboratory facilities and services, extreme shortage of expert physicians, shortage of medicines and medical supplies, language barrier, cultural differences... and a host of other difficulties that all on-site volunteers face.  

Two mission patients joined the mission team as volunteers in order to assist Dr. Maire.  Dr. Maire had 4 regular assistants:  one interpreter, one receptionist, and one field assistant - who would accompany patients to the hospitals and specialists, and one admininstrative staff to take care of the procurement of medicines and supplies and take charge of the finances.  


Referred to the mission by the non-government organization Action Contre la Faim (ACF) for medical assistance/
Village Catechism in Purok B'laan, Kawas, Sarangani Province
Daily visits were made to assist the patient to know God as her Creator and Judge and to prepare for a good death. During the daily catechism, her family and relatives were exhorted to assist her by their prayers. The earnest efforts to assist the patient to die in the grace of God moved her family, neighbors and friends to also attend catechism lessons.  In short time, they learned the basic prayers and the Commandments of God, and asked to be prepared for Baptism.

At her burial,a great number of them attended the Holy Mass respectfully.  They listened to the sermon of Fr. Hora and after the Mass they asked to be given a regular catechism schedule so that they could also receive the gift of Faith and salvation.  The ever-expanding mission field sends us on our knees to earnestly beg:  "Mitte Domine operarios in messem Tuam.  Messis quidem multa operarii autem pauci!"

First Communion
First Communion for mission contacts from various villages.

Procession in Honor of Christ the King
The faithful at Holy Family Chapel organized their first-ever procession in honor of Christ the King. Mission patients joined the procession and enjoyed the fiesta food and attended the catechism lesson.

Viva Cristo Rey!

In General Santos City, many patients also attended the procession and Mass in honor of Christ the King and enjoyed the party that the faithful organized in honor of Christ the King.

Demise of Jane Paglinawan
October 30:  Dear little Jane was promounced dead at St. Elizabeth Hospital.  She died amid the anxious prayers of her family.  She was admitted to the hospital on October 27 due to vomiting and abdominal pain.  She had survived more difficult times and emergency surgeries.  Her death came so suddenly, when it was least expected.  At her wake, regular catechism was conducted for her neighbors, relatives and friends to exhort them also to prepare for their own death.