Colombia: Fraternal Love

A serious illness and unexpected hospitalization in a foreign country led to a deep bond of friendship and sharing between two Focolare communities in Colombia and Venezuela.

We never envisaged that a telephone call we received one evening would lead to an unthinkable chapter in our lives. We were informed that a relative of a Focolare member in Venezuela was admitted to one of the hospitals in the city of Bogotá (Colombia). This Venezuelan, who arrived in Colombia as a migrant, in precarious conditions, worked as a bricklayer. He had to be hospitalized because he was seriously ill. The next day, two Focolare members, who both felt God’s call to show love to this brother, who was a stranger to them, met at hospital when they went to visit him. They introduced themselves to him and assured him that he could count not only on the two of them, but also on the larger family of the Bogotá Focolare community. He told them that he was in Bogotá with his son, who was now replacing him at work. The doctors warned that his condition was very serious.

When we contacted his son, we found out that they were living in a poor hut. Through an appeal to our community, we managed to provide clothes and shoes for them. Later, the son had to stop working to dedicate more time to his father. So, some of us started to see to his breakfast, his lunch, his need to rest; we wanted him to feel the warmth of a family. Others took turns to visit the father in hospital, so that the son could be relieved. Meanwhile we continued to see to their basic needs.

The time came when the father expressed his wish to return to Venezuela. He shared with us that his experience in Colombia made him feel God’s love and brought a true conversion in his life. He wanted to see his little daughter again, to be with his wife and die in peace. He could not travel by land, so money was needed for the necessary documents and for the flight. The doctors and nurses were also greatly touched by this situation, so they helped in various ways and collected a large sum of money. In the meantime, he needed specialized care and despite difficulties, after some time he was admitted to a specialized medical centre. Here, the doctors realized that there was nothing more they could do. He should have been discharged out hospital, but considering his situation, they decided to keep him there until his departure for Venezuela. We asked a priest to visit him, and he was able to confess and receive the anointing of the sick.

On the day of their departure from Bogotá, there was a blackout in Caracas (Venezuela) so the plane could not leave. They had to wait for three more days; they stayed in a hotel near the airport, until finally they were able to depart. When the son contacted us, he expressed a lot of gratitude for the love received; he told us that his father managed to arrive home and passed away very peacefully after some time.

The Bogotá Community(Colombia)

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