Romania - Bucharest

 Romania

Description: Flag of Romania.svg The flag of Romania

In March 2000 Sr Rose Carmel McNamara made a trip to Romania that was to influence her life greatly.  During her short trip there she became aware of so many forms of hunger, deprivation and low self-esteem it prompted her return in the very near future.  Sr Rose Carmel had visited a hospital in Bucharest where there were children with AIDS and HIV.   Many of these children had been abandoned and it was on these poor children that Rose Carmel bestowed a smile and a hug – gestures that need no language to interpret.  Sr Rose Carmel came across other organisations that had been set up to help the children – one of the first being “Smile Romania” which had set up eight homes for abandoned children.  Special classrooms were set up for children with AIDS as they were not allowed into the state school system.  Sr Rose Carmel also visited the Budimex Children’s Hospital where children and babies with acute cancers were treated.

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The position of Romania and its neighbouring countries.

 

However, it was not just the plight of the young that affected Sr Rose Carmel.  The elderly were left in dire poverty with little care given to them.  Some of the elderly had been deprived of their pensions as their work places had not paid into any schemes for its workers.  It was with such pressing needs as these that Sr Rose Carmel decided to return to Romania in October 2000 to try and help those most vulnerable.

By December 2000 Rose Carmel was firmly established in Romania teaching English to the children through the use of songs and pictures.  Food parcels and gifts began to arrive to help Rose Carmel in her work to those most in need.  She had made a friend and ally in the person of Dr Diaconescu, a Romanian doctor, who even supplied cooked meals for the most needy.  Many families in Romania have handicapped members and these often need medications that the family cannot afford.  Rose Carmel works tirelessly to provide these families with these medications.  The St Vincent de Paul Society also makes huge efforts on the part of the poor.

Description: S:\Photos\Romania (2012)\_MG_1696.jpgSr Rose Carmel

 

Over the next few years Rose Carmel continued to report on the poorest of the poor  that she tried to support – those who needed help paying for prescriptions, others who needed help to keep a roof over their heads.  Various organisations have also been instrumental in the help they have given, organisations like Health Aid UK and Jubilee Outreach from Yorkshire who sent over a truck full of food and medical supplies.

Rose Carmel works unceasingly to improve the lot of the elderly and regularly meets with a group of them to distribute food and socialise with them.  The elderly look forward to these occasions very much and it helps to get them through the week.  Often they take home essential food for the week and volunteers take food out to those who are housebound.  These volunteers are inspired by the life of our foundress, Catherine McAuley and her response to the needs of her time.  In December 2003 Rose Carmel was able to report that she had now been able to get a minibus to transport the immobile.  This has ensured a degree of freedom for those usually locked in their own homes.  The project for the senior citizens went from strength to strength and Rose Carmel manages five groups meeting at three different venues.

By December 2004 Rose Carmel was considering the idea of setting up an “Association” for her Romanian volunteers.  Together they chose the title “Association of Our Lady of Mercy in Romania”. By 2005 Rose Carmel had set this association up.  On the Feast of Our Lady of Mercy the Association was blessed and celebrated in the presence of the priests of the parishes where she serves and the VG for Religious.

 

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Offertory gifts at the Mass setting up the Association in Romania.

 

In 2007 Sr Rose Carmel’s work was recognised by the Bucharest Business Weekly newspaper when they presented her with a certificate for their Corporate and Social Responsibility Award.  She was invited to a formal dinner with the Romanian President and Government Ministers and Ambassadors.

The groups continued to meet and soon added a creative dimension to their meetings, producing beautiful beaded and crocheted angels amongst other items.  They were also able to set up their own website by April 2006 – www.ourladyofmercy.ro

The Hilton Hotel in Bucharest has been a great support over the years providing many senior citizens and poor families with a delicious meal on Christmas Day.  There are so many other supporters of the work in Romania – the FCJs, the Presentation Sisters, the Daughters of Charity, Sisters of St Paul and IBVMs – all these orders have worked collaboratively over the years to provide some degree of relief to those most in need.  For a number of years now families and the elderly have been treated to three or four days in the mountains – giving them a chance of clean, pure air and for many of them the first chance of ever leaving Bucharest.

In May 2011 Sr Rose Carmel celebrated her own Golden Jubilee in Bucharest and it was a time of great rejoicing for all those Romanian families she had helped throughout the years.  Over the years about a dozen of our Sisters have had the privilege of visiting Rose Carmel in Romania and been impressed with her work at first hand.  Two Sisters will be joining Rose Carmel in September 2015 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of setting up the first Romanian Mercy Associate group.  Many congratulations Rose Carmel.