Diocese of Kroonstad, Caregivers’ Retreat, July 2012
Fr Kris Aneke of the Diocese of Kroonstad Development Agency and Fr Modise led two days of retreat for eighty five caregivers from the parishes of St Augustine, Virginia, and St Peter Claver, Kroonstad around the theme of Service and Healing in Caring for the Sick.
They reflected on various services they render as caregivers, the healing they bring, and shared in groups on their experiences and challenges. They recognised the importance of team work and prayer, of showing love, compassion and care to one another, of sharing responsibilities, of visiting other teams doing similar work, of showing understanding towards one another when things are not perfect, and of being selfless. Some of the ongoing challenges they face and attempt to deal with are discrimination among patients and caregivers, the rejection of family members and the community of children orphaned by and made vulnerable by AIDS, poverty in families, being looked down upon because of the work they do, and the difficulties around accessing birth certificates and identity documents for their patients.
There was time for listening, reflection and sharing in groups, for the sacrament of Reconciliation, the celebration of the Eucharist, and socialising. The caregivers are motivated to be more compassionate in the care and support of patients and children, to be comfortable praying with them and their families, serving the church community with love.
More than thirty similar retreats were conducted in a number of AIDS projects between June and August in various dioceses.