Tuesday, December 28, 2010



The year 2010 is coming to a close. Yesterday, in the local NEWSPAPER, in bold headlines, was a Guatemalan reality, 6,000 asasinations in Guatemala in 2010. This is almost 500 deaths a month through violence! Truly this is great saddness for this beloved country.

Here in the Clinica Maxeña, daily we also deal with LIFE AND DEATH! There are many premature deaths that could and should be prevented. Health Care continues to be BIG BUSINESS and not a HUMAN RIGHT for every human being. Last week we lost a 34 year old mother to advanced tuberculosis. Her two small children were heart broken as well as her devoted husband. One indeed feels helpless. Even in last minutes in advanced stages, I could not obtain the medications I needed from the Ministry of Health. WHY was she not diagnosed earlier by the local Ministry of Health Clinic.

God gives LIFE and also calls home his children. WE are called, each to care for one another. We are blessed here in the Clinica Maxeña also with accompanying others back to health. As the years ends we are happy to report on the progress of our young AIDS patient, Maria, 13 years old, who was sexually abused, raped, by a family member.

Maria weighed 54 pounds when she came to our clinic less than six months ago. Today she weighs 80 pounds and is smiling. She is talented in embroidery and has been producing some beautiful T-Shirts. She is experiencing some side effects of the medications of her treatment, but she is coping well. She and her mom and siblings are living with an Aunt. Our Clinic personell are accompanying her monthly to obtain her antivirals for AIDS to a clinic two hours away and providing her nutrition supplements.


I enclose a photo of Maria when she first came to our clinic and the picture that was on my CHRISTMAS LETTER! Maria has a cross on that I received from an Irish cousin during my recent journey to Ireland. This cross is from Medjugorie. I want a miracle for MARIA! Thank You for your prayers and financial support.

Send donations to: www.diocesehelena.org and mention that it is for the


Monday, December 20, 2010

Santo Tomas celebrates Feast Day!

Friends and Family,
Before one plans Christmas celebration here in our community, one first enjoys the festivities of the Patron Saint of our town and parish, St Thomas, Apostle. Tomorrow is the actual feast day but nine days before there is a novena with prayers daily in the church. Today and tomorrow there is celebration of Mass and tonight the candle light Procession of the image of St Thomas, carried on a decorated platform, by about twelve men, through the streets of town. The streets are crowded with people late into the night just visiting, roaming the booths, eating some food, and enjoying other small purchases. The statue is carried to the center of activities near the Market and the sky lights up with a firework display. All towns and communities of Guatemala celebrate their Patron Saint; protestants enjoy the festivities although they do not celebrate the spiritual traditions. When we came forty years ago Guatemala was more than 90% Catholic but times have changed.

Simultaneously the youth of the parish and the faithful are accompanying the Posada; these are candlelight processions with the images of the Nativity being carried to a different house each night for the nine days before Christmas. There are christmas carols, and music and prayer on the arrival to the host home. After prayer, bread and hot chocalate or tamales are shared with all those in attendance. It is seen as an honor to host the Posada. The youth of the parish put up the Nativity scene in the church. Church elders white wash the outer stone structure and parishioners assist in painting the walls and providing flowers for the interior of the church.

Christmas day, as a Mission team, we will enjoy christmas dinner together.Midnite mass is at 9PM. No snow but a chill in the air in the evening. From all of us a BLESSED CHRISTMAS FROM OUR HOME TO YOURS!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Merry Christmas from Guatemala

Friends and Family,
I decided to share my Christmas appeal on my BLOG as my friends here need your generosity! It is also getting very cold here for affects of Climatic Change and lack of blankies and sweaters make life difficult, so another thought for a christmas gift!

Dear Friends and Family,
As the spirit of Christmas approaches, lights and small decorations appear in the Market Place and in the homes, plans for Christmas parties are highlighted on agendas, HOPE and PEACE surge in our hearts. The Birth of JESUS at CHRISTMAS reminds us all of HIS presence in our WORLD!

I have just returned from a journey to the homeland of my parents,IRELAND! It was a joyous time for me and also a time of reflection and rest. I could not help to notice the contrast in the environment between Ireland and Guatemala; Ireland with beautiful GREEN trees, clean water in the ocean and rivers, food and laughter in all the homes, no visible garbage on the streets. During 2010, in Guatemala, storm AGATHA brought natural disaster to our surroundings, destroying water sources, highways and some homes. The sea and rivers are contaminated with garbage and the water is murky and overflowing. Hunger and malnnutrition are a daily reality in our clinic. Cupboards are bare, children are ill with respiratory and gastrointestinal disease. There are neither Christmas presents nor trees with ornaments. Guatemala City is in fifth place in the world for VIOLENCE! Many homes suffered loss of family members or grave injustice.

There is still HOPE and JOY in our HEARTS! There are dreams of a better and more just tomorrow. As you celebrate the BIRTH of JESUS, we ask for your prayers. As you make your Christmas List we ask you to give a gift to those with less! We ask you to put the Clinica Maxeña on your Christmas List! I mention some ideas of gifts that would bring joy to those we serve! THANK YOU!



Consult for Doctor, 10 patients $20.00
1 Ultrasound $40.00
Medicine $100.00
10# of Baby Formula $30.00
ONIL STOVE $100.00
Emergency operation $100.00
Diagnostic tests $20.00
2 wool blankets $30.00

send your gift on line at: www.diocesehelena.org
or send to Diocese of Helena
P:O: Box 1729
Helena, MT

Photos included are the Christmas star on top of CLINIC!
A malnourished child before donation of FORMULA
A home with open fire for COOKING

Monday, December 13, 2010


Friends and family,
On December 10th, the Clinica Maxeña came together as family to celebrate Christmas with the traditional tamale, our band playing and Singing christmas carols in their native Quiche language, christmas baskets, laughter and christmas HUGS. Most of our clinic workers are on minimal salary, although some have worked more than ten years.
They are all Mayan Indigenous and committed to serve the poor with Joy. They all helped decorate our meeting hall, some bringing branches for the tree, others making decorations from craft paper; the hall with be used by many parish groups for Christmas. Our maintenance crew constructed a beautiful star from pieces of iron, with a DOVE and the words PEACE; it was place on top of the laboratory and can be seen from afar at nite when lit up!

On December 21, our town and also our Parish, will celebrate the Patron Saint, St Thomas Apostle. There will be music, traditional food, booths, fireworks to light up the sky. The huge statue of St Thomas will be dressed in satin attire and carried by forty men through the streets, again with traditional drums and music. The Clinica Maxeña gives the workers two days off to celebrate with family and friends.

I share some photos of our Christmas party! Thank You too for sharing your generosity with our clinic and those we serve.

You can send a donation for our work to www.diocesehelena.org
Note that it is for the Clinica Maxeña!


Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Friends and Family,

The Movie, The River Runs Through it! was a very popular movie and was filmed in Montana, my HOME state. As we returned from a march on AIDS, in one of our neighboring townships, we stopped in the home of one of our workers, Manuel. We all had a pop at his small store, in his home. As we approached his home through a back road, we were amazed at a field of green; for me it brought back memories of this movie. We learned that planted in this field is a herb, Berro, that is healthy and a favorite for stews by the Mayan population. This field of green has several owners, as each local owner has a small plot planted. This gorgeous field is irrigated by one of the largest rivers that provides water to the area, the Ixtacapa. What a BLESSING! The owners of this field sell their product in markets of different communities; they also use it in their meals of stew and vegetable patties. This blessing helps prevent hunger in their community and also is healthy to their diet and provides small income for these POOR families.

Many of our workers bought a small bundle of the herb for less than a dollar. It was also an inspiration to our workers for their new clinic project of sustainable agriculture. They saw that it is possible to plant and grow in a small plot, nutritious food for their family consumption, and also make additional profit for their family expenses.

Please stay tuned for more news on OUR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURAL PROJECT OF THE CLINICA MAXEÑA in 2011!! Thanks and Blessings. Sheila

Remember to donate on line at:


Friends and Family,

Friday all the clinic personell, who are PASTORAL HEALTH FOR OUR PARISH, took the afternoon off to March for education and prevention of AIDS! December 1 was WORLD DAY FOR AIDS,proclaimed by the UNITED NATIONS. We chose to do education and a MARCH in one of our townships, Xejuyup. We went in our jeep, two pickups with posters taped to our vehicles, a Banner of the Bishops Conference for compassion for AIDS victims and band instruments. We were surprised by a spring rain fall as we approached the community but it did not dampen our spirit. Band members jumped out of the trucks in the rain and the music started; the banner was carried by others, and the clinic personell chatted individually with those they encountered on the way.

We all wore the red ribbon, as a reminder of the Day for Prevention of Aids. We also made smaller ribbons to pin on the people, and distributed a prayer for victims of AIDS, composed by a Maryknoll priest, Dan Jensen. THANK YOU DAN! We had the clinic loud speaker roped to the jeep as our AIDS representative, Lyncho gave instruction and information in spanish followed by translation in Mayan Quiche by Manuel, native of XEJUYUP.

Our Clinic Laboratory does do Laboratory testing for HIV and we accompany patients with AIDS to the clinic for meds, especially when they are of low income and need translation to spanish. Medications are provided by the Ministry of Health. Our state of Suchitepequez is in fourth place for AIDS victims, not an honor for sure.

We ask for your prayers and financial support for our Program in AIDS prevention. We do have the support of a Mayan Quiche Psycologist who works with AIDS nationally and comes to our clinic to give individual support. He lives in a neighboring town and is always welcome to our clinic. He also has given talks to our youth in our town of Santo Tomas and also the mountain village through Pastoral for youth of our parish.

Send you donation to www.diocesehelena.org

thanks, SHEILA

Enclosed fotos of the day and the banner that hangs across the entrance of our MISSION:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dental care for the POOR is minimal!

Family and Friends,

This past week our dental health promotor, Manuel, traveled to Chiapas, Mexico, with 30 other Guatemalan promotors with the Association of Health Promotors in Guatemala, ASECSA. Dental care for the Poor is a luxury. The Poor do not approach a clinic until the dental pain is an issue for them; usually thier teeth are decayed, missing, or infected. Dental care by a professional dentist and materials for dental prophylaxis are not in the budget of the Clinica Maxeña.

Manuel, our Dental health Promotor is able to do extractions, and clean teeth. As mentioned, unfortunately when patients arrive, extraction is the only remedy. If a patient comes with a tooth that can be saved Manuel instructs them to go to a dentist in the next community. Manuel will go again in March for four days for another workshop; this will happen in Guatemala. This last workshop was mostly theory and in March they will receive also practice in dental care.

The Association of Health Promotors is ASECSA. This organization is in existence more than thrity years and the Clinica Maxeña was one of five founding Health Programs. More than sixty health programs in the rural area are now members of this organization; all would have Mayan Indian health promotors serving in their clinics and preventive programs. Many of our workers have received health education, especially in nutrition and agriculture and Medicinal Plants. A Chemical Biologist from this association oversees our Medicinal Plant clinic.

This association will also give accompaniement and technical advice and some seeds for a sustainable agricultural project we have begun with our workers. The dream is that this project will grow and help bring some solution to Hunger! Thank you for your interest and donations to those we serve.

You can send your donation on line at:
Note that it is for the Clinica Maxeña.
Thank YOU!!

Love Sheila
Attatched a picture of Manuel, our Dental Health Promotor performing an extraction of a tooth in our clinic.