The Ministry at Special Department for Children in Mental Health Hospital @ St. Elisabeth Convent, Minsk, Belarus.
It is great, when you see your goal and know you are moving towards it gradually. It is rather difficult to talk
about work that has no tangible results or some obvious fruits.
However, against this background, you realize how important the faith in charitable nature of your work is, as well as love for every person and
hope that the Lord will help anytime. Few know that in the complex of a
Mental Health Hospital, which is located right behind the Convent’s
walls, there is a special department for children, where there are kids
with disabilities, different from those living in the residential institutions nursed by the Convent.
I’ve met with a novice George (Drozd), who is listed as an educator in this department and has been visiting it since 2002, from the very beginning of his life in the Convent, to talk about the department and his ministry. I asked him about the
peculiarities, difficulties, and goals of the work in the department, although we all understand that there cannot be any other goal except from “sharing warmth and love with those children”.
Brother George shows me the
“icon-paintings” made by the children that are hung on the walls of the gesso workshop where he works. He told me that once one of the children drew an angel and made an inscription “Brother George”. And that was done not because he was so good, but because amazing, albeit difficult, children are in this department. There are up to forty people there, and these are children from five to fifteen years old. Both girls and boys.
Mostly these are “social children”, who have been withdrawn from
dysfunctional families (for example, their parents are imprisoned or are
just alcoholics) and who live in residential facilities and boarding
homes. These are the bullies whom you can meet in every yard, in every
classroom – the naughty children skipping classes. When their behavior does not subject to any adjustment, they are sent to the Minsk Mental Health Hospital in Novinki. And this is not random since all the children living in the department have mental disorders and diagnoses. A child gets in the department three-four times a year, (three times is a kind of a minimum) and stays there for several months. Brother George says he knows many children from their age of five, when they were hospitalized for the first time. These are children with difficult, broken lives and painful stories. For example, one of the boys, who is now living in a boarding home for children, was born in a drug den. His mother left him in the elevator shaft out of desperation. When the
little boy was found, he didn’t shout and didn’t cry already. Nobody
knew how long he spent in the shaft. When he got into the hospital, he
was just out of control: once a class was over, he broke out of the classroom and started to tear off the curtains and throw off flowerpots.
He was baptized in the department. It was surprising that during the
Sacrament he was quiet, silent, and he listened attentively.
Continue with Interview with Brother George here.