“Around every eight seconds a child dies of a preventable disease caused by dirty water. 70-80% of the beds in hospitals around the world are filled because of dirty water.” Sr. Lorraine Lauter, co-founder of Water with Blessings , told us as she began her story of how the Water With Blessings Program began.
During years of mission trips to Honduras, Sr. Larraine helped treat repeated illnesses caused by unsanitary water. This inspired her and some friends to start the Water with Blessings Program which provides water filters to impoverished communities with undrinkable water.
A chance meeting with one of our volunteers led us to participate, both as a recipient in our Homes in Africa, India, South America, Sri Lanka and the Philippines and as partners in providing crocheted sock covers for the filters.
On Saturday, March 11, our auditorium was filled with Residents, many volunteers who have helped us to crochet, Mother Provincial Maria Christine, the Mother Superiors and many Little Sisters from around the Chicago Province, plus visitors who wanted to hear more about the Water With Blessings Program.
Sr. Larraine and her team designed a small filter used with a simple bucket, to clean water from impurities, making it safe to drink. They learned that it was vital to the success of the Water With Blessings Program, for the local community to take ownership and responsibility for administering this solution. Knowing that mothers were the one group that would always take care of the children, Sr. Larraine enlisted the mothers (affectionately calling them “water women”), to use, distribute and share the filters with other families in their communities. Sister and her team have also designed a larger filter that has been installed in the Little Sisters’ Homes and larger buildings such as hospitals where contaminated water is a problem.
Sitting on the table next to Sr. Larraine as she spoke, was a bucket of very dirty water (with visible debris). Sister demonstrated how fast and simple the water filtering process worked. It was amazing how the brown sludge filled liquid transformed to crystal clear drinkable water after it passed through the filter. Proving the successful transformation, Sr. Larraine offered cups of the filtered water to anyone who would like to sample it. Many took her up on her offer and gave the refreshing water a resounding “thumbs up”!
We became part of the Waters With Blessings Program during the Year of Mercy, beginning in 2015. Since then, Little Sisters, Residents, Staff and volunteers have crocheted thousands of socks to place over the small water filters, protecting them from breakage. After her talk, we presented Sr. Larraine with more cases of our crocheted socks.
Rem Reyes, a volunteer who helped in our laundry, offered to take a large filter to our Home in his native Philippines and distribute a load of small filters and socks in the needy communities there. So moved by the experience, Rem decided to stay in the Philippines, dedicating his life to help the Water With Blessings Program.
As a part of their role as Water Women, each mother has promised to pray every day at 1 p.m. We unite with them each Friday in prayer at 1:30 p.m., asking for many blessings and successes for the Water with Blessings program.