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Sodalitium Christianae Vitae - English / News  / Siloé: 35 years bringing hope to hospitalized children

Siloé: 35 years bringing hope to hospitalized children

Siloé has just turned 35 years old, walking through the hospital corridors to make visible the words of the Lord Jesus: “I was sick, and you visited me” (Mt 25, 36). For this reason, we wanted to learn a little more about the experience of this service of the Christian Life Movement in Lima, Peru.

The volunteers who participate in Siloé have the purpose of offering hope and support to those who face situations of pain and illness, either in their own lives or when accompanying other people. The main goal is to help understand and deepen the true meaning of human pain, thus contributing to a more compassionate and reflective environment.

More than 10 years of volunteering with Siloé

We spoke with Oliver Murúa, currently responsible for the volunteer work carried out by Siloé at the National Institute of Children’s Health (INSN) in the Breña district and has participated in this volunteer work since 2010.

“Every encounter with the sick person is an opportunity to communicate with God and, in the process, to find God in him,” says Oliver.

“I believe that the impact is mutual, although the volunteers bring a message, a moment of comfort, joy and relief to the patients and some family members, I think that also, in each act of service, comes a greater reward, because seeking the well of the sick, we find ours.

Looking toward the future of Siloé, Oliver emphasizes the importance of strengthening volunteer training this year. Although it has been done before, the intention now is for those participating in Siloam to understand that, while the service is comprehensive, the primary focus must be on the spiritual well-being of those they serve.

“Hearts that suffer and long for comfort”: Gimena’s experience

One of the volunteers who participate in Siloé in Lima is Gimena Cánova, who tells us that for her, “walking the hallways of the hospital every Sunday means “walking the Via Crucis with a look of eternity.”

“The smile of a child in pain returns my gaze to the essentials of life in a second, and motivates me to love as much as possible during the visit, doing everything humanly possible and leaving the health and intentions of the children to Him.” children and their families.”

Last year, when serving as a jury in the traditional birth contest held at the INSN, Gimena became aware that every hospital houses a large number of lives that “are not numbers or stretchers, but hearts that suffer and thirst for consolation, ultimately, thirst for God and deserve to be satisfied.”

On that occasion Gimena was able to learn first-hand about the vocation of the doctors and nurses, who by performing theaters and bringing joy to the patients in their ward, moved her deeply. “I remember that I kept telling them: thank you, with all my heart, we pray for you. It was an opportunity to convince myself that prayer is the most concrete way to thank them for their work.

What does a Siloam volunteer do?

“Before entering we gather and take attendance, then at 9 in the morning, we enter and gather in the main courtyard of the hospital where we welcome, reflect for a moment and say a prayer. Finally, we give some biosafety instructions and form groups and begin visiting the patients,” says Oliver.

Each volunteer is given a package of materials that includes catechism, usually designed in a playful way with coloring sheets and crafts. They remain with the patient until 11:30, when the visit concludes.

When the Sunday Holy Mass is celebrated in the Hospital Chapel, we join the ceremony, and some volunteers participate by accompanying a patient.

How are Siloé volunteers prepared?

Oliver shares that “volunteers receive an induction talk, either virtually or in person, which aims to clearly and transparently convey everything related to this solidarity service.”

“This talk is essential and mandatory, having a reflective part and a more technical part. We want volunteers to clearly understand their role and the guidelines to follow during the visits.”

Finally, we invite you to learn more about Siloé’s activities by following their social networks: