Generosity of Columban benefactors is having an impact on the lives of the disabled in Peru

Columban missionary Fr John Boles SSC draws on the Gospel account of a miracle in Luke 5.23 to show how the generosity of Columban benefactors is having an impact on the lives of the disabled in Peru.

Camila with the team: Aurelio (metalworker), Carla, Carlos and Marilyn (physiotherapists), Nancy (Camila's teacher), J.B., Martín (metalworker's assistant). Photo: Fr John Boles SSC

Camila with the team (L-R): Aurelio (Metalworker), Carla, Carlos and Marilyn (Physiotherapists), Nancy (Camila's teacher), J.B., Martín (Metalworker's assistant). Photo: Fr John Boles SSC

In the Gospel, we hear how Jesus performed a miracle by saying to the paralysed man, “Rise up and walk!”

Today he continues to work the same miracle, maybe not directly, but through the intervention of people like us.

As a Columban Missionary priest working in Peru, for many years I have served as chaplain to our school in Lima for special needs children.

Some of these suffer from cerebral palsy, which is a form of paralysis.

In Peru, the conventional wisdom has it that these children will never be able to walk.

Yet, through the dedicated work of teachers and physiotherapists and the generosity of Columban benefactors, we can see how God is overcoming this obstacle.

The breakthrough has come with the development of a special form of a mobile walking frame, which can be adjusted to fit the size of any child, and which has an accessory allowing the physiotherapist to follow each step of the patient.

Take for example little Camila. Her mother was resigned to the prospect of never seeing her daughter walk.

But once the Columbans had received donations sufficient to buy four of these “magic frames”, the situation was transformed.

Now, with Camila secured by a harness, she can take her first steps, with mum gently pulling the frame and the physio following on, guiding the little girl’s movements.

So, miracles are NOT just things of the past. Service, faith and kindness allow God to work them in the here and now, and make dreams come true for people like Camila.

Columban Fr John Boles has worked in South America for over 20 years