ROME, JULY 25, 2003 (Zenit.org).- St. Padre Pio and Mother Teresa show us that “medicine is not just a service… to the individual but, in fact, directly to Christ,” says Dr. Francesco Di Raimondo.
Dr. Di Raimondo who worked personally with St. Pio and Mother Theresa, says, “it is difficult to practice this ‘medicine of the heart’ which goes beyond appearances and touches a mysterious substance of which we have evidence in the Gospel of St. Matthew.”
They both represent an example of how love for one’s neighbor can be turned into a tangible reality: St. Padre Pio started the House for the Relief of Suffering, and Mother Teresa founded the Sisters of Charity to relieve the suffering of leprosy patients in India.
Driven by the “duty” to give his testimony for having had the “grace” to know these two figures of the Church profoundly, Dr. Di Raimondo wrote a book entitled “Padre Pio, Mother Teresa: The Experience of a Medical Collaborator” (Borla Publishers).
“With Padre Pio we developed a profound spiritual devotion which subsequently generated a request on the part of the religious to collaborate with the structure of the House of Relief and, especially, in the organization of this great work of advanced medicine,” he explained on Vatican Radio.
With Mother Teresa a meeting took place “which generated a readiness on my part to respond to her request to help the poorest,” he recalled.
In his book, Di Raimondo, currently a doctor at the Spallanzani hospital in Rome, speaks about the “double legacy that we must take up, as baptized individuals and doctors,” from St. Pio and Mother Teresa.
As baptized persons, “we must realize that these two saints left us a very strong direction to carry out every activity not as something solely of a technical-professional character, but as an instance of conversion,” Dr. Di Raimondo said.
“As regards the legacy to medicine, we must give consistency to a radically renewed model of the doctor-patient relation.”
It is what Dr. Di Raimondo defines as an “innovative medicine” which “makes room for something that until now has been very neglected, subjective medicine”: if it is important to cure the sickness, it is equally important that the doctor be lovingly sympathetic, patient, and solidaristic with the patient and help him express with his voice the suffering he experiences from his illness.”
“Serious illness triggers existential disconcert,” the doctor explained. Therefore, the fact that the patient has a relation with the specialist which is not just that of client-professional, but of true friendship, “is a formidable qualitative leap for medicine, including if carried out by doctors who are not believers.”
Dr. Di Raimondo said that his meeting with St. Padre Pio and Mother Teresa “helped me to be aware of the risks of a medicine which too often becomes a market or struggle for one’s career, and refuses that closeness between the person of the doctor and that of the patient.”
In fact, the latter is an aspect “that of itself is already a way of going beyond the anguish of an illness that apparently has no way out,” he concluded.