Amid West Africa's Ebola fight, deacon and church empower community

This article appears in the Ebola feature series. View the full series.
Timothy Flanigan, professor of medicine at Brown University School of Medicine and permanent deacon for the diocese of Providence, R.I. (CNS/Courtesy Brown University)

Twelve weeks ago, Catholic deacon and doctor Timothy Flanigan left Rhode Island carrying 10 hockey bags full of medical supplies.

His destination? The West African country of Liberia, one of several countries struggling to halt and recover from the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the region.

Flanigan took the last flight to neighboring country Ghana before routes were shut down Aug. 31. His hockey bags contained some of the first protective equipment -- such as medical gloves and gowns -- to arrive in Liberia from outside the country for use in Catholic medical facilities.


Both Flanigan and Vitillo had a lot of praise for the Mother Patern school, which is run by Franciscan Sr. Barbara Brillant and was featured in a report from NCR's sister publication Global Sisters Report.

"I'm in awe of the commitment and the dedication of these nurses," Flanigan said of the medical professionals he met at the school and at clinics and hospitals in Liberia. "And you realize nurses are the center of health care. And they were phenomenal."

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