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                      Tshwaranang, Newsletter Number 12,  February 2013

Day 4 - Holding Hands

... a page from Fr. Alan's South Africa diary

There’s a clock on the office wall of the Tshwaranang Hospice and Care Centre that advertises the services of a local funeral director. It’s a sombre reminder of the reality facing South Africa in light of the HIV/AIDS crisis. But in a place that could easily be overshadowed by despair, hope reigns, at least for now.
As we walk around the grounds with Mma. Joanna, the centre director, we meet Sammy working in the garden. Sammy was once a patient in Tshwaranang, but because of the care he received he has now recovered. He is now looking after the vegetables that the Centre grows

and sells in order to help support itself.

The word “Tshwaranang” means “holding hands”. It is a small centre, with only eighteen beds. On the weekend we visit, one person died and two more patients were admitted. What is important here is the quality of care. From the food prepared in the simple kitchen, to the grounds where the patients sit out on warm days, to the gentleness of the nurses, there is a sense of something special happening.

Tshwaranang is a place where the Gospel message is very much alive. It’s not enough to treat the sick because they are in need of medical attention or even because they are our brothers and sisters. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus tells us the mark of a Christian will be their ability to see the divine in the poor, the imprisoned, the refugee and the infirm and to treat them as they would treat Christ himself. This is an essential part of our truest vocation and the greatest challenge of our faith, to see the divine spark in all people.


Some young people have asked before
if there were any chances of doing volunteer work on MSC projects in South Africa.

Now there is!

Fr Alan has a program


or email



We got this
message on 25th Dec:

Thanks to all of you
for your
continuous support.

All the best in the
new year.

Fr Herman MSC.

Did you know?

Our treasurer, Maureen, and husband counted nearly 26,000 pennies in January! Every penny donated will go to the hospice.

Bank charges are covered by specific donations.

Cheques can be made to Missionaries of the Sacred Heart.

The international leader of the Chevalier Family group of lay people, Rita Cleuren, has just visited Tshwaranang hospice. Rita came to St. Albans last year, when two new groups of people from the parish came together in their development as
members of the Chevalier Family, following the charism of living out a life modelled on the compassionate love of Jesus.
Fr. Jules Chevalier, founder of the MSCs, laid the ground for the lay groups back in 1877. If you are interested in joining a group, you could contact Fr. Charles or Sara Nash.

Finally, Thank you for all of your donations.  A total of £21,850 was sent to Tshwaranang hospice in 2012!

To download this newsletter in PDF format, click here

John's Love Letters

"My dear friend,"
wrote John, in his third letter,
"you have been faithful in helping these brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers. They are a proof to the whole Church of your love, and, it would be kind if you could help them on their journey. God would be pleased."

What apt words that describe your own faithfulness, gentle and generous giving to those at Tshwaranang hospice. You have helped to create a bond of love between our communities, although few of us have ever met. Besides helping on an immediately practical level (re: food, nursing and laptops!), you have inspired others to reach out as well. The stories brought back by our missionary priests help us to feel perhaps an even deeper connection. For many of us know, all too well, of the burdens, disappoint-ments and worries, when life has not gone ‘to plan’.

John’s message of love-giving and receiving, put into action, really helps on a spiritual level, too, to heal broken-hearts and lives, be that of the giver or receiver. For as God’s hands and feet, we are the lovers that John says that God is looking for. He wrote about it in his first letter. "We can love, heal, help and make whole," he says, "quite simply because, God has loved us first."

Financial Account, Year ending 31 Dec 2012

Balance at 1 January 2012         £ 2,762.17
Standing orders, Cheques, Cash
donations, Sponsorship money
for Coast to Coast Walk, Sale
of Tea Towels & Gift Aid
during 2012                       £19,605.32
TOTAL AVAILABLE                   £22,367.49
Electronic transfers to hospice
18 January                        £ 2,500
 1 March                          £ 4,700.00
23 May                            £ 5,000.00
31 June                           £ 7,150.00
20 December                       £ 2,500.00
Bank transfer fees                £   190.00
Public fund charges               £    13.28
TOTAL EXPENDITURE                 £22,053.28

BALANCE at 31st Dec, 2012         £   314.21

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© Ss Alban & Stephen Catholic Church, 2013