Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam). “Angels in white robes”, so the patients admitted to the Covid-19 ward of the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital, in Vietnam, have nicknamed the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and the Sisters of other Congregations who take care of people affected by the Coronavirus.
The Church in Vietnam, at the appeal of Msgr. Joseph Nguyen Nang, Archbishop of the Diocese of Saigon, met the need for volunteers to assist the numerous patients in the Covid resuscitation centers/hospitals by involving in particular, priests and religious.
The memory of the experiences of the boys sent by Don Bosco to help people affected by the cholera epidemic in Turin, and of Mary Mazzarello who went to help her relatives affected by typhus, brought 14 Daughters of Mary Help of Christians from Mary Help of Christians Province ( VTN) to offer themselves for this service.
The Provincial, Sr. Maria Hoang Thi Thu Ha, encouraged them with these words, “Be prudent but attentive to effectively support the sick and become God’s blessing for them. I assure you of my prayers and those of the whole Province. I give each of you a medal of Mary Help of Christians which reminds you to entrust yourselves to God’s Providence, to the care and guidance of Mary”.
During the 5 weeks of volunteering, the FMA worked at Campus 2 of the Covid resuscitation hospital and rested in a quarantine facility, experiencing Jesus who “bends down and touches the sick” through various services: helping patients to eat, to drink, wash themselves, making beds, communicating with family members, cleaning the rooms, and above all listening to the sick, sharing their sufferings, worries, and hopes. In addition, they accompanied Catholic patients to receive the sacraments.
After the service and quarantine in a structure, after the test, which was negative for all, they returned to their communities, thanking God and Mary Help of Christians for the protection, for the intense and profound experience lived, and for what God has done in the patients through the presence of religious, including conversions and newly baptized.
The local civil authorities expressed appreciation for the testimony of the FMA and other religious and thanked them for their dedication:
“The presence of Sisters/volunteers in the hospital was like a soothing and healing balm for patients during treatment, when they could not have loved ones around. Their contribution to tackling the Covid-19 pandemic has been very significant for this city”.