.- A rehabilitation clinic for the handicapped in Port-au-Prince will soon be opened in honor of Father Jose Gabriel del Rosario Brochero, an Argentinean priest who will be beatified Sept.14.
The new clinic will be called “Kay Gabriel,” which means “Gabriel’s House.” The inspiration behind the initiative is an Argentine physical therapist named Norma Lopez, who has been working in Haiti since the earthquake in 2010 that devastated the country.
Lopez works with a team of volunteers that care for adults with neurological disorders, as well as special-needs children and their families.
The idea for “Kay Gabriel” came after Lopez began working with the survivors of the earthquake that struck Haiti on Jan. 10, 2010. Hundreds of Haitians injured by the quake began seeking treatment at Saint Damien Hospital and pushing the underdeveloped health care system to its limits.
The story of a little girl named Johane was of particular relevance to founding of the home.
Johane was asleep at the time of the earthquake and suffered a fractured skull when her house collapsed. Doctors said there was no hope she would recover. She lay immobile in her hospital bed and was barely able to breathe. A feeding tube was her sole means of receiving nourishment.
Doctors said Johane needed surgery to alleviate a massive brain hemorrhage, but there were no surgeons to perform the procedure.
When she heard of the young girl’s plight, Lopez and her team began to care for Johane. One of the head nurses recalled hearing a story of a boy named Nicolas Flores, who survived a car accident through the intercession of Fr. Brochero.
Lopez explained that she was drawn “to pray to God from the bottom of my heart for the intercession of Fr Brochero that Johane would survive the severe brain damage she suffered.”
Though she realized there were slim chances for Johane’s survival, Lopez continued to pray each day for the girl. One day, a group of Italian surgeons decided to take Johane into surgery in order to alleviate some of the pressure on her brain.
Johane showed some improvement after the operation, and Lopez was moved by the desire to start a treatment program for other children in need.
“We began building Kay Gabriel, a name we chose in gratitude to that priest who interceded before God,” she said.
“The God of life, the God of hope. That God who gives us the certainty to believe that these children, young people, fathers, mothers and seniors who have lost a limb will be able to walk again and resume their lives, even with their limitations.”