The first Lithuanian hospisas, named after Bl. Fr. Michał Sopoćko – a confessor of St. Faustine, was inaugurated on the World Day of the Ill on 11 February 2009. It was founded in Vilnus by s. Michaela Rak from the Convent of the Sisters of Merciful Jesus. It was the same nun who had run the Hospice of St. Kamil in Gorzów Wielkopolski. She also cooperated in creating hospices in Mińsk, Kalingrad and others. She is known, although she does not care about her popularity in media or about any awards which were acknowledged to her, like the Officers’ Cross of Poland Rebirth, which she received from the president of Poland Andrzej Duda in May 2018 and the Medal of One Hundred Years of Regained Independence, awarded to her in November 2018.

The Vilnius hospice is in a building in which Fr. Michał Sopoćko lived before the war. The building required lost of renovation, so after the inauguration ceremony, first the home hospice began to function. The stationary hospice began to provide patients with care in 2012. On a website we read that it is an international work which would not exist if it had not been for help and donations of over 200 companies and institutions as well as people of good will from all over the world.

The Vilnius stationary hospice has got 14 beds and can accept maximum 16 ill people. When other people come asking for help and there is a shortage of beds, they are not left without care – they receive care from home hospice in which a team of nearly 100 people work. They provide care to the ill at their homes in the distance of even 100 km from Vilnus.

Charisma and determination of s. Michaela gather volunteers and people around her who want to give their support. That is why the first dame Agata kornhauser-Duda accepted her invitation and during the visit of the presidential couple in Vilnus in Frebruary 2018 she visited the ill in the hospice. It was also belief in the success of s. Michaela thanks to which pope Francis stopped at the hospice when visiting Lithuania in September 2018, got off his car and blessed the ill there – although that meeting was not in the official schedule.

Another light for the incurably ill, this time for the youngest ones – was lit by s. Michaela last year, when she began to build a hospice ward for children. It is the first institution in Lithuania similarly as the hospice for adults. The cornerstone, inbuilt in the wall on 6 December 2018, consists of little pebbles collected in many places of the world – among the others, in the Holy Land, Assisi, Vatican, San Giovanni Rotondo, Fatima, Lourdes, Medjugorie. The cost of building works is estimated for about 5 million zlotys. Despite the fact that, as for now, in the piggybank about 90 percent of the amount is missing, s. Michaela and her team believe that they will succeed this time. Declarations of giving help are coming from many parts of the world and are followed by actions. One of the ambassadors of the action is Mietek Szcześniak who donated his song ‘Saint blunderbuss’ for this purpose and undertook a concert tour during which the Foundation of Mercy Angels is raising money for the children’s hospice in Vilnus. On the tour there have been a dozen cities so far. Ambassadors of the action are, beside Mietek Szcześniak, Kinga Dębska, Darek Malejonek, Dominika Figurska with her husband and a lot of other people. Everybody can give donation to the piggybank for the Vilnius hospice; details are on the website: www.mostdonieba.pl

Translated by Aneta Amrozik

Niedziela 6/2019 (10 II 2019)

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl