Osteogenesis Imperfecta or Lobstein disease is a common condition effecting thousands of children in Eastern Europe. The condition is caused mainly by malnutrition. Children who suffer from this illness have bones that are very weak and in time splinter and protrude through their skin, leaving them in much pain and after a while without any use of their limbs.
The church we built in Cupcini was built on ground that was included with the house we purchased as a day centre. After opening the day centre it became apparent that there was a considerable Catholic population in the town who lost their place to worship God after the communists took over in 1945. The Russian army bulldozed their church and sent the priests to Siberia.
When Val Conlon, arrived in Vilnius some years ago, very few people knew that this was the place where Saint Faustina had received the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. From her diary, Divine Mercy devotees knew that it happened in Vilnius but no one could tell where exactly the place was. It took Val some time to discover the ruined convent which had only one surviving house, which through some extraordinary miracle happened to be the house where Saint Faustina lived.
Rascani is an extremely poor town in Moldova. In Rascani the Catholic Faith was suppressed by the Nazis during the Second World War and by the Soviet Union and Communism up until recent times. Since 1991, the Catholic Faith once again started to emerge, although the people had no church or priest. In 2002, three Franciscans moved to Rascani. Since then, people have come steadily back to their faith, interrupted by years of oppression, but their faith they may have repressed but never really lost.
In 1988, Val Conlon met a Jesuit Polish priest, Fr. Jacub Rostworowski, in Dublin who was on his way to Zambia to serve the Polish Church as a missionary there. After he arrived in Zambia, he continued to communicate with Val and it was apparent that he was working under great duress in his efforts to cater for the poverty that existed in the area he served. Val immediately decided he would help in whatever way he could, with the work that Fr. Jacub was engaged in.
When we asked the doctors in this hospital were there any other life threatening situations for children, we were told they lost many children that were brought in with a damaged oesophagus. We began researching this story and we discovered that in rural areas in Romania, people make their own liquid soap which is made much cheaper than any soap they would buy.
When we went to Moldova we learned it was the last communist stronghold in Eastern Europe. ‘Help Us Dry The Tears’ HUDT had a friend in the American embassy in Romania Bill Crawford, who was the Commercial Attaché there. Bill suggested Cupcini was the most impoverished place in Moldova so our purpose in going there was to provide aid to the poverty stricken in this area and Cupcini was the place most needing help at that time