The Corpus Christi Carmelite Sisters of the Eucharistic and Theresian spirituality have vowed to push on with their work despite their financial hardships.
In an unexpected move last March, the community has had its Government funding slashed. The move has hindered the daily operations of the 28 Sisters who have dedicated their lives to helping the underprivileged, special needs, mentally challenged and problematic children, as well as the elderly in this country.
In the next six months, the Sisters will be celebrating their 100 anniversary.
But instead of celebrations, Assistant Prioress General of the Corpus Christi Carmelites Sr Antoinette Fahey said they have been mulling over the dire financial constraints they have faced over the last 15 months.
The latest has to do with a cut in Government’s monthly subventions for the Lady Hochoy Homes’ north and south branches.
These two homes which provide in-house care to 75 severely physically and mentally challenged children had its funding of over $1 million unexpectedly slashed to $980,000 which is just enough to pay its staff.
The Sisters also have been managing the Christ Child Convalescent Home, the Mimisa Home, L’Hospice Home for the Elderly, a string of day care centres and the Lady Hochoy Schools in Penal, Gasparillo and Port-of- Spain that attends to the needs of 334 special needs children on its own.
Every month, Fahey said the Sisters are faced with a financial shortfall of $2 million to manage these institutions.
Sr Clare Marie Nero, an accountant at the Lady Hochoy Home, north, said only on Monday they received a cheque from the Government to pay the Lady Hochoy Home staff.
The cheque, Nero said would take four working days to process at the bank.
“That means our staff will receive their salaries in the bank on June 10. This has been a regular occurrence. These people have bills, mortgages, rent and loans to pay. When their salaries come in late they are charged penalties by financial institutions,” Fahey pointed out.
Fahey said they have raised this ongoing issue with its executive who in turn wrote the Ministry of Social Development about the cut in funding, but the matter has fallen on deaf ears.
Fahey also pleaded for more volunteers to come forward to save troubled children.
“Our main thrust is to serve the Lord and his people with gladness and to be zealous in whatever we do,” said Fahey, “We have great hope that God will answer our pray
Reporter: Shaliza Hassanali