Preaching by word and deed, the Lord Jesus Christ healed people, taking care not only of their bodies, but above all.of their souls, and as a result of the integrity of the person. According to the Saviour Himself, he healed «the whole body of a man» (John 7: 23). People afflicted by disease need therapy, and also companionship and spiritual support. The mission of the Convent’s sisters is to remind the ailing person that their souls are alive and that the Holy Sacraments (notably, the Confession and the Eucharist) are powerful means to strengthen the soul and the body, and aid in the person’s healing or coping with his or her disease.
The Convent’s lay sisters and volunteers are conducting their ministries among patients of the National Mental Health Centre, Minsk City Centre for Rehabilitation of Children with Mental Diseases, National Research to Practice Centre for Pneumonology, and General Hospital No. 2. The Holy Reverend Ambrose of Optina used to say: “Sometimes, a disease strikes us so that our slumbering souls can wake up.” Being in the hospital, outside of one’s habitual surroundings and alone with oneself often brings one to question the meaning of one’s life, and be more open to thoughts about God and the soul. We see it as our mission to be near, to bring comfort, sympathy and love to all who need it during those critical moments. To many, our ministry was the first opportunity to learn about the Holy Sacraments, and for others an encouragement to return to the fold of the Church.
Xenia Verbitskaya, a sister of mercy, together with Father Andrey Lemeshonok saw patients of the cancer ward at Minsk's city clinic No. 2. We interviewed her about the experience of her ministry and its purpose and meaning.
The monastic and lay sisters and brothers of Saint Elisabeth Convent make helping people in need an important part of their everyday lives. The sisters are inspired to serve with our heavenly intercessor, Saint Elisabeth, and our Saviour.