On Sunday, April 2nd, a group of COAR teenagers visited the Divina Providencia Cancer Hospital to visit with the patients and learn the value of volunteering and serving others in need.
The hospital was opened in 1969 by the Carmelite Missionary Sisters of Santa Teresa who wanted to give poor Salvadorans a place to stay when receiving radiation therapy at the National Cancer Institute. However, today, the Hospitalito as it is called, is a 128 bed hospital primarily serving palliative and hospice care for terminally ill (poor/low income) cancer patients.
For the past 11 years, its primary function is to offer pain relief, religious comfort and support to both those dying from cancer and their family members who are struggling with the disease. This center serves the poor and those unable to pay for private care. The hospital is financially supported by the Carmelite Congregation and their donors. It is the only such cancer hospital for the poor in El Salvador.
Divina Providencia is also well known for offering Archbishop Romero a little 3 room apartment where he could stay away from the traffic and noise of the capital. It was in the small chapel of this hospital where Blessed Romero was murdered during a memorial service that he was conducting on March 24th, 1980. The Carmelite Sisters offer visitors a tour of both the chapel and Romero’s apartment which they have converted into a museum/memorial to his memory.
The COAR kids (volunteers) are pictured in front of the altar in the chapel – exactly where Blessed Romero was standing when he was assassinated. This visit is part of our greater efforts to educate the COAR internos and instill strong, positive values that will make them good parents and citizens when they grow up. Even these kids who come from such difficult backgrounds can volunteer and support others in need. It is an education beyond the classroom walls.