THE SONS of Divine Providence have opened houses for the mentally handicapped, old and infirm in different parts of the country since they arrived here in 1952. Their latest project is the expansion of their house for mentally handicapped children at Teddington in Middlesex.
The congregation's founder had for his motto: "Do good always. Help everybody. Harm no one." So it is that the houses run by the Sons of Divine Providence are non-denominational. They help anyone who needs it.
Colombo House in Teddington has been home for 18 children for 14 years. They live as a family and those who look after them call them "exceptional children", rather than classifying them as below "ordinary" level.
Providence is looking after the venture in so far as a house next to the established one is available. The congregation has taken out a £30,000 loan to buy it and is looking for another £20,000 to adapt it.
More money is needed to renovate the existing house, which will include the equipping of a speech therapy room. The local authority are not in a position to prbvide for capital costs, but they have indicated their enthusiasm for the project.
Colombo House, caring for children aged between eight and fifteen is the only venture of its kind in the borough of Richmond-upon-Thames. The council provide for the children's upkeep, but to get them a home means voluntary help.
Now that the children that were earlier staying at Colombo House are growing up, the need for extended facilities is even greater. The new house means that the age limit can be raised and that the children will be able to stay on with the staff they know. It also means that the problem of staff quarters will be a little easier to solve.
Cardinal Heenan said about the congregation when they were younger in this country: "God's Providence cares for all His children. But it is God's way to allow those who are strong to be His instruments in helping the weak.
"The sons of Divine Providence are called to show compassion on the sick, the old and the abandoned. God will bless all who help this work of love."
Part of the congregation's work is to show the children that they are lovable. This is what Mother Terese has been trying to do in Calcutta and elsewhere, as all the world must know this week. Teddington, too, needs some more love to go round, which is where Colombo House has its place.