Allizer Agulto

February 2013-4Manila – “Guanella Home‘s Little Angel,” “Alli Baby,” “Alli Baba”: these are just a few of the terms of affection used by those who know Allizer Agulto. Allizer is a 13-year-old child who came to Guanella Home 6 years ago. Although Alli is unable to speak, partially blind, must be spoon fed oatmeal three times a day for meals, will never be potty trained, and relies on staff to provide for all his physical and material needs, since he arrived he has won the hearts of all who meet him. Alli is by far Guanella Home‘s most dependent child. He has multiple disabilities: he has been or is currently undergoing treatment for: hydrocephalus, bacterial meningitis, seizure disorder, dysphagia, scoliosis and clubfoot. He is also partially blind and paralyzed, and he is developmentally disabled. He is one of the most poignant examples of why Guanella Home exists. Our Founder, St. Luigi Guanella (1842-1915), exhorted all Servants of Charity to see and to serve Christ in those persons who are most abandoned—and considered useless—by modern secular society. The world looks upon persons like Alli and sees someone who cannot contribute to the material growth of society, they look at him as a consumer—not a contributor. However, we look upon Alli and see Christ. We know that the world is a better place—a more holy place because Alli is here. Alli is a child of God; created in His image and likeness, and because of his condition he more closely resembles Our Lord on the Cross. As a result of Alli‘s life being shared with us, there is an increase of the inestimable gifts of love, understanding, compassion, and patience in the world—ushering forth the Kingdom of God. Alli gives to the world—and to us—much more than he receives and without Alli, the world would certainly be much more impoverished. When Alli first arrived, he was cute and chubby. His disposition (which has not changed) was pleasant. He would often smile and laugh—and rarely cry. He would amuse himself by looking at his hand from different perspectives. At that time his scoliosis was not pronounced or even noticeable to most people. He was not having seizures and he very much enjoyed the sound of bell ringing. Understandably, some of the staff and religious were a bit trepidatious and concerned about how to take care of such a precious and fragile treasure as Alli. Even though meeting his needs (such as feeding) was difficult in the beginning, the professionalism, expert care giving, and great love of our staff and religious overcame those initial challenges—even feeding him in just fifteen minutes. What is even more amazing is that our other residents—even those who are very rough and maculit towards others—are as gentle as kittens towards Alli, and quite attentive to his needs. This phenomenon was not taught to them, but is something led out from them by Alli‘s presence. Sadly, as time has passed, Alli‘s physical condition has deteriorated: Almost as if overnight, the scoliosis has twisted and distorted his spine so much that his body looks like an ‘S.’ His muscles have become tense and more rigid, making it more difficult to feed him. What used to take fifteen minutes now takes about an hour. His seizures have become much more severe—in fact, while hearing the bells ringing used to give him great pleasure, now the same sound will give him a seizure. As a result of his increased physical needs, his medical needs (such as maintenance medicines and medical checkups) have also increased; but so have our love, care, understanding and compassion for him. (Bro. Bob Neimeyer)

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