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Nun appeals for help as COVID-19 cases overwhelm Manila orphanage

A Catholic nun appeals for help as COVID-19 cases overwhelmed the Hospicio de San Jose orphanage in Manila.

At least 103 wards and personnel of the Church-run shelter for orphans and homeless have been found positive for COVID-19, with at least three already brought to the hospital.

Sister Maria Socorro Pilar Evidente of the Daughters of Charity, administrator of Hospicio de San Jose, said three elderlies and 49 children were tested positive for the virus.

Sister Evidente appealed for donations for those locked down in the facility — 180 personnel, 13 nuns, 276 wards, and dependents of the facility’s personnel.

“We’ve long been under lockdown and we have to feed our people three meals a day,” said the nun over a radio interview on August 23.

“Until we have the virus, we will remain on lockdown,” said Sister Evidente.

She said the surge in cases could be traced to the personnel who had to go out of the facility for medical appointments.

“Those who went to see their doctors, most of them turned out positive for COVID-19,” said the nun. “The rate of increase was quick unlike in April to June when the increase was slow,” added the nun.

The Philippines’ health department reported 18,332 new coronavirus infections on Monday, August 23, a record daily increase, and 151 deaths.

There are now 130,350 active cases of COVID-19 in the country. The total number of recorded cases rose to nearly 1.86 million with positivity rate at 24.9 percent, said the health department.

A health worker walks around to check on coronavirus disease patients admitted in the chapel of Quezon City General Hospital turned into a COVID-19 ward amid rising infections, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, on August 20, 2021. (Photo by Eloisa Lopez for Reuters)

Initially named the Hospicio General, Hospicio de San José was established in October 1778 by Don Francisco Gómez Enríquez and his wife Doña Barbara Verzosa.

After being cured of a fever, Don Gómez Enríquez donated the sum of 4,000 pesos to found the hospice that would take care of Manila’s “poor and unwanted children,” the physically and mentally handicapped, and aging people.

The initiative and example of Don Gómez Enríquez was followed by other charitable people of Manila.

From Dec. 27, 1810, and by Royal Decree, the hospice was governed by a Board of Directors chaired by the Archbishop of Manila.

On June 1, 1866, through the suggestion to the Governor-General of the Philippines by a benefactor named Doña Margarita Róxas, the operation of the hospice became the responsibility of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.

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