Homeless people in Madrid have written letters of support to coronavirus patients, expressing to the sick sentiments such as “in difficult situations, don’t lose faith”.
– “You just have to stay calm… Always after the dark tunnel comes the shining light”
The Madrid archdiocesan branch of Church charity Caritas said on its website that residents of CEDIA 24Horas, a homeless information and welcome centre run by the Church in the Spanish capital, wrote letters “full of affection, encouragement, hope and faith” to people hospitalised by COVID-19 and currently being treated in six local clinics.
“Life puts us in difficult situations”, reads one of the missives.
“You just have to stay calm and not lose faith, always after the dark tunnel comes the shining light, and even though it seems that we can’t find a way out, there’s always a solution. God can do anything”.
– Living the quarantine “like any other family”
The residents at the Church homeless shelter are living the strict coronavirus quarantine that Spain has been under for almost the past three weeks “like any other family”, with the residence being “the home of those who at this time when they’re asking us to stay at home, have no home”, Caritas Madrid said on its website.
“We try to make sure COVID-19 doesn’t push us apart as people, even though there has to be two metres between us”, explained Susana Hernández, the director of Caritas Madrid’s outreach to the marginalised.
“Perhaps the most extreme measure that has been implemented is maintaining distance between people at a center where welcome and warmth are a sign, but we try to make up for it with a surplus of smiles and gestures of encouragement”, Hernández continued.
– “All of us together, we’ll get through it”
Even despite the stringent lockdown in Spain, and the trying conditions at the shelter, the residents of CEDIA 24Horas still desired to make a show of support to local COVID-19 patients and to counter the loneliness and fear of the sick – familiar to them from their own experiences – with words of comfort and strength.
In their letters, the homeless encourage the coronavirus patients to leave “everything in God’s hands”.
“He will sustain you and help you. Just trust in Him”.
The residents of CEDIA 24Horas also assure the sick of their solidarity: “I know that all of us together, we’re going to end this situation and everything is going to get better”.
“Don’t fall back. Stay strong with dignity in the battle”, reads a letter from one of the homeless people.
– The Pope’s defence of the homeless
The empathy and encouragement of the homeless with COVID-19 patients in Madrid is one of the unexpected bright shining lights to have come out of the health emergency which, as of Thursday, had claimed over 110,000 infections and 10,000 deaths just in Spain.
Pope Francis, too, has spoken out on multiple occasions during the pandemic in his daily Mass in the Casa Santa Marta on behalf of people without a home.
Thursday the pontiff lamented, for example: “There are so many homeless people today”.
“Let us ask Saint Teresa of Calcutta to awaken in us a sense of closeness to so many people who in society, in normal life, live hidden to us but, like the homeless, at the time of the crisis, stand out in this way”, the Pope asked the Church yesterday.