Caring for Body and Soul

by John Mullen

I have been privileged to serve as a Maryknoll Brother in Kenya since 1990. A Registered Nurse by training, my work now is to help Kenyans respond to the crisis of the AIDS epidemic which is ravaging their country. Small Christian Communities (SCCs) are the backbone of parishes in Kenya. Utilizing this existing Church structure our Project (the Archdiocese of Mombasa AIDS Relief and Community Based Health Care Project trains volunteers from each SCC to visit the sick in their respective areas. The HIV prevalence rate being greater than 20%, invariably we find many people sick and dying from AIDS. 

The local health care system has been overwhelmed by the numbers of people with AIDS. We use simple medicines to treat opportunistic infections which ease sometimes terrible suffering. More importantly, the care and concern of our volunteers is an important Christian witness that helps ease the pain of despair that afflicts many people with AIDS. The work can be difficult at times. I must struggle to stay close to Jesus in prayer. I am blessed to be living with two other Maryknoll Brothers and a Maryknoll priest. This community living is a great source of support for me. Finally, I am grateful for my vocation to be a Brother and feel very privileged to serve God's people