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Providing Care to All People

Hope Workers' Center in Taiwan
Hope Workers' Center in Taiwan



Dear Columban Friends,

In one way or another, all of us interact with caregivers. Some of us may provide care to children or elderly relatives while others of us require assistance. Columban missionaries provide care to all of the people we serve worldwide. And, our retired Columban priests are blessed with thoughtful caregivers who really make a difference in their lives.

Columban lay missionary Joan Yap recently wrote to me about something that impacts all of us—caregivers! Joan lives and works in Taiwan, and she shares her experience below:

Columban Lay Missionary Joan Yap
Columban Lay Missionary Joan Yap

I've been working as a shelter supervisor for many years. I have met a lot of caregivers who came to our center for assistance and shelter. I have the chance to get to know them through our one-on-one meetings.

Caregiver workers are vulnerable to abuse because here in Taiwan they are not yet part of the international labor standard law. They don't have regular days to rest, and they work for 24 hours taking care of the old people and receive low wages.

I am touched by their stories of how unselfishly they care for old people who have dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other illnesses. They absorb all the negative feelings, including pain and anger, yet sometimes lacking the language becomes an advantage for them because it lessens the stress in that they cannot understand those hurtful words.

There is also the emotional challenge of being separated from their own families. It is a constant struggle for them. They long to be with their families and yet feel guilty for not being there to care for them while they take care of others. Moreover, the distance can lead to conflicts and misunderstandings, making the emotional burden they carry even heavier. They sometimes feel tired and need time to recharge.

Once, I asked a group of caregivers about their dreams and aspirations. Many expressed a desire to improve the lives of their families and loved ones. However, they also wished for basic things like having a regular day off, a better salary, and respectful employers. These might seem like simple dreams, but achieving them requires sacrifices. They are willing to make these sacrifices for the chance to provide something better for their loved ones.

Caregiver word image in the shape of a heartCaregivers really work hard to help others, but sometimes we forget that they too need help. It is innate in them to take care of other people so it is important to understand that they should also get the same care and kindness in return. Taking care of our own self is not just good, but it is also important so that we can help others better. Having a day off is not a luxury; it is something they need.

The Hope Worker Center is organizing and facilitating activities for the caregivers. It has been challenging because they do not have regular days off or their available time does not coincide with others. However, we continue to conduct our monthly gatherings, online rosary sessions every Friday, and offering Mandarin classes. These efforts are our way of honoring their importance and providing an opportunity to educate them about their rights.

This year, we will come together to support them in the Big Rally to advocate for caregivers' rights and welfare. Some caregivers may be unable to attend because they have to work. It is our duty to stand alongside them, so that their contributions are recognized, and their voices are heard to safeguard their health and well-being as care givers.

On behalf of all Columban missionaries, thank you for allowing us to take care of the most vulnerable people—the children, the elderly, the disabled, and even the caregivers—worldwide. It is our partnership that brings the healing love of Jesus Christ to those in utmost need. As always, you will be gratefully remembered in our Masses and prayers.


Gratefully yours in Christ,

Fr. Chris Saenz, Director

Fr. Chris Saenz | Director, U.S. Region


The Missionary Society of St. Columban is entrusted by the Holy Father with part of the Church’s mission to spread the Faith and saving work of Christ.” (Vat.II) The Society works under the guidance of the Sacred Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and under the leadership of the bishops. We are listed in the U.S. Official Catholic Directory published annually by P.J. Kennedy and Sons. As such, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service recognizes us as a religious not-for-profit corporation, therefore contributions to our work are tax deductible. We employ no outside professional fund-raisers and pay no commissions.