Don Bosco Graduate Among Pandemic Heroes
One of the many unsung medical heroes putting their lives on the line during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is Don Bosco graduate, Doctor Venancio de León of Guatemala. Exemplifying true Salesian spirit, he lives to serve others, forgoing wealth and serving among the poorest of the poor.
The former president of the National Association of Past Pupils of Don Bosco and former chair of the Alberto Marvelli Foundation, he currently manages the Salesian-run Father Bartolomé Ambrosio Vocational Training Center in Guatemala City.
Dr. de León’s work is vital in a country where more than half the population lives on less than a dollar a day–there are very few facilities for the public to receive medical treatment and the risk of contracting COVID-19 is high. In Guatemala alone, as of the time of this writing, there have been over 45,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, most of whose victims are poor and vulnerable. And the number is rising daily.
Since the pandemic began, Dr. de León has traveled throughout Guatemala to treat COVID-19 patients, working double-duty at one hospital five hours from his home and at another in Guatemala City.
Raúl Vásquez, director of the Bartolomé Ambrosio Center, commends Dr. de León as a man who truly lives his Don Bosco education: “He is always smiling and he always talks about Don Bosco. He is a doctor who lives an extraordinarily spiritual life with truly admirable serenity.”
Dr. de León joins hundreds of Salesian missionaries, lay professionals and volunteers who serve as front-line health workers in some of the world’s most impoverished communities. Since long before the global pandemic emerged, these passionate and dedicated individuals have been providing essential care to children and families who otherwise couldn’t afford even the most basic preventive medicine and vaccines. Our more than 150 hospitals, clinics and dispensaries exist because of the generosity of our many friends, for whom we are tremendously grateful. Support for our Salesian-run schools around the globe helps to ensure that graduates like Dr. de León continue to do good in the world.
“Dr. de León is a physician and a person who truly lives to help those in great need, humbly and without regard for money,” says Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “I know I can speak for all of my brothers and sisters in Don Bosco when I say that it makes us tremendously proud to witness him living his faith, and Salesian education, in action.”
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