Taipei (AsiaNews) - "Belgium is the place where I was born, but Taiwan is my home." With this sentence, Sister Hilda Von Hoolst has left the country permanently after 52 years of mission among the poor and needy. The entire national community - including President Ma - wanted to greet this religious "mother" of Catholic help to the population.
Sister Hilda is a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and has lived in Taiwan for 52 years: for this reason she says she feels more at home "in this beautiful island." She continues: "Now I'm going a bit 'reluctantly, thinking of all the friends that I leave, but I will not be a burden to anyone here because of my health." In her 52 years in Taiwan, Sister Hilda cared for children born prematurely and gave assistance to the sick in the hospital. Since 2001, her mission was in caring for Alzheimer's patients.
The religious sister is 79 years old: "But I do not think all this time has passed since I arrived here in 1961. I had the joy of life with fullness and remember all the emotions felt by the people with whom you have done this long journey, for it seems to me that the time has flown. "She is a great symbol for his dedication to the poor, the sick and the needy: "From now on I will retire to a monastery and pray for all the people who helped me and everyone I've met here in these beautiful years".
On 3 May, a farewell ceremony for
the religious was held in the headquarters of the Taiwan Catholic Foundation of
Alzheimer's Disease and related dementia (天主教 失智 老人 基金会 ). The
head of the National Immigration, Hsieh Li-kung (谢 立功) and his deputy He Jong-tsun (何 荣 村) attended the event, while President Ma Ying-jeou
(马英九) and the mayor of Taipei
Hau Lung-bin (郝龙斌), unable to be present, sent messages of
gratitude for the long mission carried out in favor of the patients in Taiwan.
Sister Hilda was visibly moved by all the sympathy that was shown on the evening as she took farewell of those present with the words, "After all this time I really feel that the people really care! Maybe because we did not come for money or business but simply to love. Time flies but I only remember the joy and happiness that I had here. "