Bring Jesus to others; He is Enough!
I am currently in the middle of transitioning back to the Motherhouse after spending the past two months “on mission” at our convent in Chicago Heights. During my time there I helped with the 7th and 8th grade math classes at St. Agnes School and spent one day a week at our hospital helping at the front desk and in the nursery. Although I was very excited to experience life on mission and was so ready to have the opportunity to work with students again, I had more than a few concerns about working in the hospital to say the least. My first few days of hospital ministry were a whirlwind; I felt like a fish out of water. One of our employees was given the task of training me at the front desk; I observed her as she looked up patient information, greeted visitors that walked through the main entrance, directed people how to get to their doctor appointments, and answered a wide range of questions on the telephone when people called in asking for all kinds of information. My initial reaction was “I’ll never be able to do this”; I didn’t even know that telemetry meant the heart unit, how in the world was I going to be able to help anyone? After a few weeks of feeling completely overwhelmed in the medical world I decided that instead of focusing on everything that I couldn’t do (anything that had to do with real medical knowledge), I decided to list everything that I could do without any further training. My list looked something like this:
- - I can smile.
- - I can say “good morning” to everyone that walks through our hospital doors.
- - I can lovingly escort visitors to their loved ones hospital room or direct them to the correct elevator.
- - I can patiently listen to the complaints of people, assure them that I understand their concerns, and then guide them to someone who is in a position to help them resolve their difficulties.
- - I can say “I’m new here” and find someone who can help.
As I pondered my list of things that I knew how to do I realized that I could summarize them in one phrase “I can bring the presence of Christ to others.” Underneath all of those simple skills was the ability to love; the ability to choose to love everyone that came across my path in whatever way that I could show them my love. This is exactly what has been cultivated in my heart and mind during my two and a half years in formation- the ability to love. As I prepare for my first profession of vows this August, I now have a very concrete experience of the living out of the vow of chastity which simply put means that we have a heart for all, a universal love capable of embracing each person that comes across our path.
My favorite encounter that occurred during my hospital ministry was when I was asked to escort a ninety year old woman to the front door after her procedure was finished. When I walked into the waiting room to escort the patient her face lit up and she asked me “are you a real sister; you’re so young”? I assured her that yes I am a real sister and held up my identification badge so that she could see that my name is Sr. Mercy. Her smile widened even more and we had a wonderful conversation about Divine Mercy and St. Padre Pio as we worked our way down to the main entrance. She wasn’t interested at all in my medical knowledge; she simply hoped to be embraced by the love of Christ. I pray that she felt His Love. Ultimately, everyone is searching for the love of Christ, so if we cultivate a heart open to the Gospel we simply don’t have to worry about having all the answers. Christ is the answer.
~ Written by Sister Mercy