A Walk With God – Ministry Reflection by Sister Catherine Riggs
As I look back over my almost twenty years at Our Lady of Wisdom Health Care Center I have come to see my ministry as a walk with God in His garden of wisdom and treasured memories.Three songs have served as a beacon:
BE NOT AFRAID has deepened my trust in God who gives me His agenda (always written in pencil ) which He can change or redirect at a moment’s notice. When our residents leave their homes and come to live here, their life style is radically re-directed. Their health slowly or quickly changes over the following years, months, or even days. This trust that has taken firm root in me enables me to reassure our residents of God’s love and compassion, and that God holds them and their fears securely in His heart all the way HOME.
COMPANIONS ON THE JOURNEY has given me strength along the way by getting to know and work with many staff members who really care about our residents and emulate the mission and values of OLOW. Together we are companions to our residents in the final stages of their journey HOME. As I meet new staff members in Orientation sessions I help them to better understand our Catholic identity and the traditions of the Catholic Church — so important to most of our residents. Listening to our residents and often colleagues, I know this place was well named; here resides a fountain of Wisdom. I see myself as having been truly gifted with such colleagues and residents in my life. The women and men who have completed their journey here at OLOW immediately become part of my “Honey Do” list, i.e. they are my special advocates, “Honey, do this; Honey, do that.” I take great comfort knowing they will be right here with me as I continue along my journey HOME.
ON EAGLE’S WINGS has been the quiet source of humble gratitude that has grown throughout the years as I have found myself by the bedside of so many residents as their last breath of this life becomes the first breath of Eternal Life. The privilege is profound — to be with the residents and often their families at this most sacred moment. Joining family and friends at the funeral has become more than an expected courtesy; it seals the bond that has developed between the family and OLOW. Within one to three months after a resident has gone HOME we invite the families back for a memorial Mass. The families are reassured that they are always part of Our Lady of Wisdom Family.
As I approach twenty years of service I sit in our courtyard surrounded by a garden of flowers and a garden of memories, thanking God for all I have been graced to give, and for all the butterflies of wisdom that have come into my life and made me a better person and a better Carmelite.