Whatis itlike to live on the margins of society? You need to go there to see. These Sisters have already gone there – notto judge, butto understand. Not to tell people what to do, but to roll up their sleeves and help. They are living outthe message of mercy.
At present there are 26 elderly Sisters of the Order of Saint Basil living in the convent of Our Lady of the Annunciation in Zouk Mikael, a Christian suburb in the north of Beirut. This was once the Mother House of the order, but now it has been converted by the Sisters into a retirement home. The 26 nuns living there have served the Church all their lives, like candles giving light to thousands of other people, but burning themselves up in the process. With tender mercy they have given their lives for those who could no longer help themselves; now they are dependent on the help and loving care of others.
They need wheelchairs, mobility walkers and other walking aids, special beds, incontinence pads and above all medication – the cost of which sadly far exceeds their resources. Wages also have to be found for the fifteen extra carers who help the other Sisters in caring day and night for these frail and often bedridden nuns. Yet these ‘candles’ continue to burn brightly, through their prayers. But right now we are their hope, says Sister Nada Tanios, the Superior of the home, as we have promised to help them with the cost of the care, medication and mobility aids. These Sisters are truly deserving of our loving support, and it is surely not right that these light-giving candles should be allowed to flicker out before their time.