Deafblindness is a severe multisensory deficiency that often generates significant communication difficulties, impairs access to information, orientation and mobility.
A dialogue between Father Mirel Ilie, the coordinator of the hearing-impaired community in Bucharest, and a little girl suffering from this condition highlights how complex and sensitive the mission of the priest is:
“We were at Christmas time, and she asked me in sign language: If you ask Christ for something, can He bring it to me as a gift? I said: Yes, how not? I thought to myself that I would buy her what she wanted, no matter how much it cost.”
“She said to me, ‘When I sit here in my wheelchair and look at my mother and read on her lips, she prays in tears to Christ, Lord, help my little girl to walk for at least five minutes. Let me run after her and not be able to catch her.’ Please pray Christ to help me for at least five minutes so I can do this, and I promise Christ I won’t cry afterwards that I can’t walk. I’m going to sit back in my wheelchair, but I want to be glad I made my mother happy.”
The story made the clergyman value, even more, the gifts we humans receive from God.
“I went in the car and cried for a long time, thinking that I was a hypocrite because I don’t thank God for what He gives me and, above all, I can walk, I can see and I can run after my children and have them chase me.”
Deafblindness can be congenital or acquired; the problem is just as complex in one case as in the other. In congenital deafblindness, vision problems can be evident from birth, while hearing impairment can be observed in the child later.