Nurturing in the Woods: extending the hand of compassion
When a person is sick, she or he feels most vulnerable and out of control. This is true whether the individual has a major ailment or simply a minor cold. In a time of illness, each one of us has a desire to know what is going on.
A person wants to be able to know how s/he can get back in control. That’s why Providence Health Care at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods and the Sisters of Providence who sponsor the ministry are committed to providing care for residents that nurtures each one in body, mind and spirit — in a holistic manner.
Ministry of Care
Ministry of Care is especially charged with bringing that dimension of care to all who are in Providence Health Care.
Sister of Providence Su-Hsin Huang, SP, now in her thirteenth year of service in the Ministry of Care, says, “My mission is to look always for the best way of being compassionate in working with each resident, many of whom are seriously ill.”
A native of Taiwan, Sister Su-Hsin said she was drawn to the ministry after caring for her father during his final illness fighting terminal cancer. She next went on to minister as a chaplain in a hospital and nursing home. After entering the Sisters of Providence in 2004, Sister Su-Hsin studied theology and became a certified pastoral minister.
More recently, she studied with Sisters of Providence Chaplain, Father Terrance Johnson, in a two-year Spiritual Guidance Training Program at Siena Retreat Center in Racine, Wisconsin.
“My goal is to be a good listener. I am still learning to be a more attentive listener in my ministry. I want to become more compassionate as I try to live as Jesus did among the ‘least’ who need attention, care and compassion,” she said.
In addition, Sister Su-Hsin and the other ministers of care who assist the residents also participate in social activities like bingo and other games to provide activities for recreation.
Sister Su-Hsin enjoys visiting with residents, listening to their stories, praying with them, reading to them and sometimes even doing a little correspondence for them.
“I do whatever I can for them. I listen to them, cry with them and laugh with them,” she said.
Among their activities, the minister of care is there to assist a resident in preparing a “celebration of life” booklet if the resident wishes to do so.
In this booklet, the resident and minister of care identify “end of life” materials, like favorite hymns, psalms and prayers of blessing to be included in wake and funeral service liturgies.
Comfort and presence
“I also provide them the comfort and presence they may need even during the dying process,” she says.
Each minister of care is also present to console relatives during the wake and funeral services.
Residents of health care appreciate the various ways in which the health care staff and the ministers of care journey with them. For example, Providence Health Care resident Sister Dorothy Gartland, SP, who is in assisted living in Lourdes Hall, said she is grateful for the kind of support she receives. “It enables me to do what I can do to be as independent as I can but also provides me the support for what I can no longer do regularly for myself.”