‘I see clearly, that the thing the Church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the Church as a field hospital after battle.’

Father Andrés Jaramillo has made these words of Pope Francis very much his own, and in Girardota, in Colombia, after the decades of civil war, he has established a fraternity that is intended as a ‘field hospital’ for wounded souls. The Brotherhood of the Sacred Heart aims to be a place of refuge and consolation for the despairing, the wounded, the lost and those overwhelmed by spiritual suffering.

There are centres and resources available for many other groups – the elderly, the children, the war victims, the poor, the homeless and refugees. But for ordinary people in spiritual need there are none. It might be a young student, a housewife, a manager, an office worker… any one of us in fact.

Lola Lopez, who had lost her only daughter, felt utterly broken, torn apart, annihilated. ‘I simply couldn’t stop weeping. I forgot to eat, to sleep, to live.’ Father Andrés and his community invited her to spend some time with them, to pray and talk. ‘They didn’t ask questions, they didn’t demand anything. They took me by the arm and smiled at me.’

Eventually Lola got back on her feet. ‘Love has overcome death’, she says. ‘This love without measure, selfless and undemanding, this is what healed my wounds.’

There are many other Lolas. Now the fraternity wants to build a house, a mother house for many such field hospitals in the future, both within and outside Colombia. We have promised funding for the ground floor. It will represent the first stage of the ‘field hospital of the Good News’, a field hospital of joy, of hope and of love.

This article can be found in Mirror 0416.