MISSIONARIES of the POOR , Kingston

In February I visited the MOP in Kingston, Jamaica. I spent a day in their orphanage 'volunteering' before heading up the mountain for a spiritual retreat. The time with the abandoned children of Kingston was well worth the airfare.

'Bethlehem', the nursery, had 25 children, all of them severely handicapped. The MOP brothers did their best to provide loving care, but barely had the manpower to keep them fed and clean. There were absolutely no extras - no hot water for bathing, no toys or books (no place to put them, or brothers available to supervise), no trips outside, no more than the most basic nutrition. The more aware children sat in 'strollers' and had only each other for stimulation.

Of course, the children do not actually 'miss' the extras. They accept the life they have without complaint. Many of the children were more 'uncomfortable' than was necessary, due to not having money for medical improvement. Plastic surgery to shape an unwieldy tongue, for example, would improve meal time and communication. Several children had hydrocephalus, which can sometimes be helped by an operation to put in a 'shunt'. Some children would be more aware if they had access to vision aid or hearing aid.

As I was bathing , feeding and trying to make friends, I realized that these children, in their innocence of our world, had a very important role. They help us to be human. Truly human. Loving, caring, without expectation of return, aware of the benevolence of our Creator ,FULLY human. I felt sad for Jamaica - for the lack of love exposed by the childrens' neglect and abandonment by even the government (many of the children are brought to MOP by the gov't). I did not feel sad for the children. Yes, they suffer what we do not. They suffer, in a way, for our benefit - even for our redemption. But they are not miserable sufferers. They are spared much of the 'misery' of our world. I felt grateful that they had been born (which many of them certainly would not have been in Canada) and that they were requiring and accepting my love.

What is the good of 'my love'? It is joined with the Creator's love, and works to the salvation of the world - just as the childrens need is joined to Christ's Passion. The Lord does not Create a new soul to be wasted. He loves them, and for that alone they are invaluable. In as much as we reach out to His poor with our love (as needful as we may be ourselves), we are cooperating in His plan to bring us all home to Him.

We have free will. We choose. We love - or we don't.

M.O.P. RETREATS: Youth for Males : June 17-22 (18-25 yr.)
Youth for Females : June 24-29 (18-25 yr.)
Lay Adults : July 18-20

For information about MOP:



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