The reality of life in Cuba, given the widespread poverty (the lack of food and medicines, of properly paid work, lack of professionally skilled staff in education, lack of medical care and hospital assistance, the need for more and better resources etc.), adds to the disillusionment and despair among many and makes the social and pastoral mission of the Church so important. The sisters in this context do their best to care for the sick and the most vulnerable elderly people, as far as their means allow; they also tend to and listen to the cares of many on a daily basis and pray with people and teach them about God. They bring comfort and a spirit of Christian hope and to challenge the sense of loneliness and despair among so many vulnerable Cubans. The Hermanas Sociales Congregation, founded in Hungary in 1923, has been active in Cuba since 1951. The congregation maintains 5 houses in the three archdioceses of La Habana, Camagüey, and Santiago de Cuba. The 19 sisters fulfill various humanitarian and pastoral tasks. This includes the care of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy in El Cobre.
Facing the Covid 19, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) received the testimony of Sr Berglis Marín Glean, Cuban District Moderator of the Social Sisters:
“Today facing this pandemic which leaves behind so much pain, we feel strongly committed to our people. Responsibly accepting the health and country guidelines of ‘Stay at Home’ for the good of all, we seek the means to continue as a Church and as a Community close to the most vulnerable and those who suffer. For several years, in our pastoral work, the care of the elderly alone and the homeless has been a priority. Because of the restrictions, this disease places on us, the sisters who work in this field are looking for ways not to leave this segment of the population that is so desperately in need of our help right now. For this, some sisters bring food to their homes, others go to the parish where they have created the conditions so that people who have no house can go to bathe, change their clothes, and take food.