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Meet María de Juan, volunteer of St. Teresa´s Home in London

How long have you been part of Sisters Hospitallers?

Five years ago, I moved to live near St. Teresa´s Home and it was while walking around the neighbourhood that I first saw the centre and I decided to enter and say hello.  It had been on my mind for a long time to look for some weekend volunteering.  So, I went in, met Sr Isabel Gaztambide, who at that time was the Superior, and, after introducing myself and talking for a while, I told her that if they needed anything I was close by and would be happy to help with anything. Sister Isabel told me that at weekends the receptionist does not arrive until midday and that it would be good to have someone to cover reception in the mornings.


What is your purpose, your mission in helping Sisters Hospitallers?


Since then, whenever I am not travelling, I am in charge of the reception on Sunday mornings.  Although it is almost always a quiet day, it is a happy time of the week with some family visits, at 11.30 we usually go down to mass in the chapel and then the residents go to the dining room for lunch. So, although my main mission is to be at the reception desk, pick up the phone and open for visitors, I also find time to participate and share some of the morning with the residents, the workers and the sisters.

How has the life and work of our founder St. Benedict Menni influenced in your life and in your participation in the hospitaller project?  

I think that the life and work of Saint Benedict Menni has gradually influenced me without me being very aware of it. It is clear that it was the Holy Spirit who pushed me to Santa Teresa’s Home in 2018, and once I was welcomed into the family of the Sisters Hospitallers, I never wanted to leave.

I have been lucky enough to grow up in a Catholic family, where I was raised to respect the elderly and care for the sick. But it has been seeing how the Sisters live it every day, the love with which they care for the people who live in the house (and for all of us who come by), how they care for things well done and the affection and joy they put into everything they do, that has led me to continue to participate, even in a very small way, in this great hospital project.

The work of St. Benedict Menni and the Sisters Hospitallers is becoming increasingly important in this century when life expectancy is getting longer and mental health is becoming more fragile in both old and young, so it is also an ongoing mission that extends beyond the doors of St. Teresa’s, to do all we can to be there for the most vulnerable.


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