Part of our History - At St Helen's

I am still working at the Saint Helen Hospice, a nursing home for the very sick, directed by an Orthodox friend of ours. There is place for about 20 patients. The work schedule is hard: 24 hours followed by 3 days off..

 We were hoping that this would become a centre for the terminally ill. At the start, there was always a doctor and the possibility to have tests and receive free medicine. Now, the doctor is only called for very serious cases and it is the families that have to make a request for him to come.The hospice buys most of the medicines but the families also buy some of them. Thus, little by little, it is only the rich who are able to be cared for. The personnel except for a few, change every three or four months. Most are sent by the Unemployment Agency and so are neither motivated nor prepared for this work and there is conflict between the two groups.

I am happy to be close to these patients, especially when they are approaching death. If they want, I can call their priest and pray with them.

A light for everyone at the hospice was the arrival of two groups of young Poles, who came to help the patients, free of charge. Both groups came during their vacation time. Both the personnel and the patients were amazed to see how they worked with so much devotion and kindness. Our community served as their place of rest and shelter.

For a year now there has been a prayer group at church and I try to be faithful in participating. We are not very numerous but it only takes a spark to light a fire! This year, for the first time, we went to pray in an Orthodox Church during the Week of Unity. We prayed to the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of our hearts so that we might be able to discover the riches contained in the Liturgy and way of praying of our brothers and sisters, who are  so close to us and yet with whom we have so little contact. For the people of our Church this was a huge step. Several families have begun to come to this group to share their joys and difficulties. Beneath the sky of Korosten this is a little star of hope which has been lit up.