The Ministers of the Infirm
Earthquake in Abruzzo
By Fr. Scott Binet MD, MI
Only 5 months have passed since the earthquake struck Aquila, Italy bringing destruction and death, yet with few exceptions the media interest for this event seems to have already died down. The victims of the earthquake are showing signs of desperation and a feeling of being abandoned. The drama continues though: aftershocks occur frequently in the affected zone and hundreds if not thousands affected by the April 6 earthquake are still living in camps. Similarly, far from the TV cameras and the spotlights, the activity of the Camillians has not ceased.
There are many initiatives underway. Next to those of the first hour, some of which still continue – such as the housing of and care for displaced persons at both the Saint Camillus Institute in Sora and the Nicholas D’Onofrio Center of Spirituality in Bucchianico, there is a new one: a pastoral and scientific initiative called the Saint Camillus Project.
Those involved in this Project are the Camillians (CTF Central); Caritas (Pescara and Aquila); IMR (Italian Medical Research) – an entity accredited by the Ministry of Health as a provider of continuing medical education and a leader in Italy for counseling in the healthcare field; Bambin Gesù Hospital in Rome – known as a leader worldwide with regard to the services it provides and the research it undertakes.
These partners have as a common goal “to take care of the wounded person” and “to teach others how to do so” and to serve the weakest – in this case children. Their diversity favors a more appropriate and very flexible response to the trauma of the earthquake. In a similar context, Saint Camillus became a forerunner in offering assistance that is both qualified and human/humanizing.
The entire project will take place in phases over a period of 24 months and will unfold in primarily four areas:
1. Formation, supervision and accompanying of Caritas workers from the Dioceses of Pescara and Aquila who are engaged in the nonprofessional activity of counseling (relazione d’aiuto). This activity began on June 29, 2009.
2. Formation in basic counseling and post-trauma counseling for healthcare workers – in particular general medical doctors, pediatricians and other professionals who partake in formation activities – through modules taught by highly qualified teachers (The CTF and IMR will host “The Rainbow Course” – a training of trainers – at Loppiano, Italy from July 23-26).
Piazza della Maddalena, 53 – 00186 Roma – Tel. +39 06 899281- Fax +39 06 89928133 –
3. Active collaboration with workers from local Caritas organizations through sending qualified
volunteers (counselors, psychologists, social workers, experts in forming therapeutic alliances,
and professional nurses) who will put themselves at the service of those affected by the earthquake.
There is already a rotation of volunteers planned from July 2009 to January 2010. Hopefully others will
be added in order to continue the activity.
4. Scientific research in collaboration with the Department of Research at Bambin Gesù Hospital in Rome. The aim is to provide information concerning the psychological impact of a traumatic event like the earthquake and the factors that might lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A study will be done on a total of 7500 people between the ages of 3 and 14.
How to Financially Support the Relief Effort in the US –
Online or By Check
Online To make an online donation, visit our donation page and make a secure payment using PayPal:
Please specify “Earthquake in Abruzzo” using the option to “Add special instructions to the seller”.
By Check Checks can be made out to SOS DRS. On the memo line write “Earthquake in Abruzzo”. This is the title of the special account set up for the disaster. Checks should be mailed to: SOS DRS 1039 East Russell Avenue Milwaukee, WI 53207
For more information, in the United States contact the SOS DRS Secretariat at 414-431-6503 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
More information will follow to build on this and keep you up-to-date.