Stories of the poor


Listening is a communication skill that we are now lacking. The homebound sick need more than just fruit baskets, they need our understanding and care.

– Theresa’s story

1. See

Observe the facts, know the reality.

2. Judge

Use social analysis and moral values to make judgement about the facts.

3. Act

Plan a realistic and effective strategy to action.

1st Step


The homebound sick are among the most marginalised.

My name is Theresa, I’m 62. I became interested in visiting people, especially the homebound, when I got to know more people of different backgrounds. I listen to their family problems, hear about their ups and downs in their life, feel their loneliness and learn how they have given up on life, whenever I visit

them. The bible verse, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few” in Matthew 9:37, struck and bothered me. I felt this verse doesn’t apply only to the religious but also to lay people . So, I started visiting the young and old, and anyone who needs a friend regardless of their age, race or religion. I became a good listener and companion to those who needed care and attention.

During my visits, I not only talk to the homebound person, but also to the caregiver. A caregiver could be a family member or a hired person. They usually have an emotional attachment to the person they are taking care of. Some of them look after the homebound as an obligation, but there are others who do it, out of love and compassion. The homebound, who are completely or partially dependent on their caregivers, often feel sad and depressed. It is difficult for them to believe that their caregivers are doing it out of love and don’t see them as a burden.

It takes a lot of patience and sacrifice to take care of the bedridden, but it is satisfying to see that they are well, and that we have done our best for them.

The caregivers or the family members of the homebound need someone to listen to them too. They have much to share and need to be appreciated, valued and respected for the work of God they are doing.

Besides those being homebound due to sickness, there are people who are not able to leave their house because of financial issues. They have no direction, and are hopeless and clueless on what to do to fix their problems. People like this are often pushed into such situations when they lose the breadwinner of their family due to death or sickness, who are no able to provide for the family.

A visit that I can’t forget is to a family of a single mother with five children who had gone without food for five days. Yet, the children were so cheerful when I went to their house. I saw how grateful they were despite the little they had. Despite being a non-Christian, the mother welcomed me into her home so gracefully and accepted the provisions I had brought for them. The mother was in tears and gave me a hug saying “I asked and He provided, I believe in Jesus.” Jesus listens to their prayers too.

I’m so touched every time I visit. People are not only poor materially; but spiritually, mentally and emotionally too. When we bring provisions for them, we must prepare ourselves to be a good friend to them. Listen to them, try to lighten their burden, tell them some words of affirmation and these will give them hope to continue living. Our moral support can give them the confidence to rebuild their lives. When we let Jesus work through us, we can be the small spark for them to keep going.

I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me.

2nd Step:


3rd Step:



Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

And where there is sadness, joy. 


O Divine Master,

Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

To be understood, as to understand;

For it is in giving that we receive,

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal life.


Make us worthy Lord, to serve those people throughout the world who live and die in poverty and hunger. Give them through our hands, this day, their daily bread, and by our understanding love, give them peace and joy.

I heard the call to give up all and follow Christ into the slums to serve Him among the poorest of the poor. It was an order.

When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.

You and I, we are Church, no? We have to share with our people. Suffering today is  because people are hoarding, not giving, not sharing. 

Jesus made it very clear. Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do it to me. Give a glass of water, you give it to me. Receive a little child, you receive me. 

Lord God, You came to give honour to the least, those forgotten, overlooked and misjudged.

You came to give first place to the last, those left behind, misunderstood and undervalued.

You came to give a warm welcome to the lost, those who are orphaned, abandoned and destitute.

Help us to be your ears to listen to their cries. Help us to be your voice speaking out love and acceptance.

Help us to be your feet walking beside those in need.

Help us to be your hands to clothe, feed and shelter them.

You came for the least, the lost and last of this world.

Lord, hear our prayer.


Almighty and most merciful God, we remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them. Help us to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy. Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for our sake became poor, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Give Alms

  1. Look for a senior citizens’ home in your parish. Ask your parents to contact the home to find out what are the things you can do for the elderly who live there. Many old people are left alone in the home and no one has visited them for years.
  2. Plan a visit with your family. Old people like to talk to children because they remind them of their own grandchildren. Try to spend time with them and play games with them.
  3. Remember their names so that you can keep them in your prayers and ask God to bless them.
  1. In the government hospitals especially, there are many who are sick and unable to eat by themselves.
  2. Visit the hospital during lunch or dinner times.
  3. Identify those who are alone and need your help to eat. Offer to spoon feed them.
  4. Share with your parents about this experience and remember their names and pray for them so that they will get well.
  1. Do not ignore the sick elderly in your family. Take care of them and build better relationships with them.
  2. Pray and eat together with them. Share stories and talk to them. God can heal the brokenness in our hearts when we start talking. Reconcile with them and make up for the wrongdoings of the past. Seek their forgiveness and forgive them also so that God can heal, rebuild and bless your family.


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