Ministry of Care: homemaking for healthcare residents
(This article was originally printed in the Summer 2013 edition of HOPE.)
Sister Su-Hsin is from a culture that considers their elderly “treasures,” giving them great deference and respect. This makes her a natural as a member of the Ministry of Care Team at Providence Health Care at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, which addresses the spiritual, emotional and personal needs of the sisters and other residents in the Sisters of Providence health care facilities.
You might say that hers is a ministry of “homemaking.” Each day she spends time particularly with sisters and residents who have memory loss and by her services creates space and familiar activities where another’s heart and soul is touched.
One such activity that provides a feeling of being “at home” for these sisters is the daily rosary.
“Some sisters may not remember events or names or what they ate for breakfast, but as soon as they hear ‘Our Father’ or ‘Hail Mary,’ the chapel fills with prayer,” said Su-Hsin.
When residents end up in the emergency room of the local hospital, Su-Hsin takes her turn with other Ministry of Care team members to accompany them. “I hold their hand; I show them my SP symbol so they know I am also a Sister of Providence; I remind them we are the same family.”
Much of what Sister Su-Hsin does requires listening. When a resident is upset or distressed, she sits with them, offering her quiet presence to soothe and comfort.
Recently when a sister grieved the loss of her roommate, Sister Su-Hsin sat with her at the end of the day. She also sits and prays with sisters who are dying.
“At various times, I become the eyes, the ears, the hands and legs, the mouth of the sisters,” says Sister Su-Hsin. “In these ways I believe I provide a sense of community for them and a home to sustain them.”
About the author: Sister Ann Casper is currently Executive Director of the Sisters of Providence Mission Advancement office, a position she has held for 11 years. For the past year, Sister Ann has served as a mentor to Sister Su-Hsin as she continues on her journey toward final profession as a Sister of Providence.