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Creating a Caring Presence Week 1 – Hope I am not too late in joining this discussion!
Primer: Introduction- What is your most meaningful memory of receiving pastoral care?
My most meaningful memory of receiving pastoral care was way back in 1971 but it remains with me to this day. I belonged to a Spanish religious community. I lived in Philadelphia, Pa. It was the only house we had in the States. It came time for final vows. My twin Sister made final vows. I asked to wait a year and I asked to go to Guatemala where there were more Sisters. But, I was sent to Puerto Rico instead. There, we had only one house. I felt angry and resentful that my request was not heard nor my needs met. There were just three of us there in Puerto Rico. But, I stayed. During that year, I met the Community that I now belong to for 48 years, the Adorers of the Blood of Christ. They sensed my loneliness. They befriended me inviting me to their home for shared prayer, meals, fun days at the beach. My bond with them was becoming stronger than the bond that I had with the Sisters I was vowed with. At the end of the year, I received a letter from the motherhouse in Spain, I was to go to Guatemala. My heart broke. I did not want to leave the American Sisters who had befriended me. But I went. And, there waiting for me, was a letter from the American Sisters: “Why don’t you join us?” My heart truly lept for joy. Since I had not made final vows, I was able to transfer from the Spanish Community to my present community, the Adorers of the Blood of Christ. I experienced pastoral care from the Adorers and from the Lord. If my first request to go to Guatemala had been answered, I would never have met the Adorers! I experienced how God does sometime write with crooked lines! I grew in trust that God does provide for all our needs. And, just this past December, the Spanish community had a reunion in Costa Rica for all women who had left that community. My sister and I were both able to attend that reunion and healing did take place as we saw God at work in our life story. My sister left that community two yrs. after I did, joined the Air Force and met her husband in California where they raised five children.
Chapter One: In the teamwork of pastoral care, how are you uniquely gifted as a team player.
I am a chaplain in a Critical Access hospital. All of us who care for the patient from admission to discharge have a pastoral care dimension to our ministry. Caring for the whole person, body, mind and spirit. We are all a team as we care for our patients and their families. My special part on the team in offering spiritual care. Our spirituality sustains us and helps us cope with illness, trauma, loss, life transitions. Our spirituality permeates all that we are. Caring for our spiritual needs is as important as providing food and water. A special gift that I have is that I am very hard of hearing. I wear hearing aides which help a great deal. But, I must listen intently in order to hear well. The other has my undivided attention as I try to listen well to words being said and not said. Staff and patients share that they feel heard and listened to as I am fully present. “You helped me get through a lonesome day” shared one of our patients. So, what could be a liability, is a gift as I interact with staff, patients and families. I also receive pastoral care from them as they accept this ‘liability’/gift that is mine. Staff, patients and families share that I bring a calming presence to difficult situations.
My reflection on the Primer so far:
It began as a prayer book and I am reading it like that. I appreciate so much how she shares that we are never alone in our caring. We work along side the Great Physician. Powerful image. Much to ponder and pray with as we enter holy spaces never before imagined.
Am just starting to read: Listening and Caring skills. Will post more tomorrow. I am thinking week one ends on Monday!
Thank you all!