Alive with the Spirit of God
By S. Regina Kusnir
The Sisters who reside in Mother Margaret Hall nursing facility (MMH) have spent decades as women of prayer and of service to the people of God. Today they give others the opportunity to pray with and for them and to minster to them. They are especially appreciative of the efforts of the Sisters who comprise the Spiritual Life Department: Sisters of Charity Carol Leveque and Mary Gallagher and Franciscan, S. Elaine Merkel.
As the Sisters reflect on their ministry, they feel blessed to be pilgrims on the journey of life and are inspired by the Sisters. They are attentive to needs. Each Sister is a good listener. They become aware of what is meaningful to the Sisters and seek to provide the enrichment they look for.
Carol recognizes that she is able to draw on the gifts acquired in previous ministries. S. Mary relies on the Scripture passage, “Be still and know that I am God,” to balance listening with giving advice. S. Elaine finds being a Franciscan is an asset since she can listen objectively to the Sisters.
Sisters Carol, Mary and Elaine plan their offerings according to what they have heard. There is daily Mass. They use Monday morning meetings to learn about health issues that need support, deaths, requests of nurses and who has not been seen for a while. They offer weekly group reflection based on the Sunday readings. They bring in retreat directors to provide three-day retreats twice a year. They help Sisters articulate their gratitude, joys, sorrows and the wonderful ministry and good they have done over the years. Together they have come to realize that God really directs their days and their plans. Like the Sisters they serve, Sisters Mary, Elaine and Carol know that ministry is best when one prays with open arms, “Here I am, God. Use me.”
The Sisters they serve gift them. They model graciously growing old and letting go. They are patient in their suffering. Their friendship is vital to the ministry. They appreciate life and see aging and its limitations as part of the Paschal Mystery. Even in the midst of their challenges, they say, “How blessed are we and I am so grateful.”
What does their ministry mean to the Sisters in MMH?
“The Sisters visit us often and hear our needs and concerns. They are very happy to serve us in their wisdom and understanding.” – S. Cheryl Ann Grenier
“They are very friendly individuals who are involved in our lives. They are welcoming to all in MMH and to visitors. They treat everyone with welcoming hearts and respect.” -S. Kathleen Pagac
“They give us beautiful opportunities for prayer. They encourage involvement and participation in liturgical and daily practices. They plan and provide each year for retreats and make sure that there is an atmosphere of silence in areas during that time. They provide ways to include each of us, and the inclusion makes us feel happy to serve, however we are able.” – S. Ann Hunt
Sisters Carol, Elaine and Mary are alive with the Spirit of God. That Spirit brings joy and life to the Sisters in MMH.