Working as a chaplain at a nursing home during a pandemic is challenging. My residents are not able to see their family and friends. As much as FaceTime is a blessing during this time, it is the human touch that is missing. I realize nothing is more needed than a hug, a handshake, and a gathering with those you love. I see some of our residents dying and we are not able to say goodbye. I grieve and welcome others to join me.
And I still feel blessed. I can be there, Christ’s hands and feet in our wounded world. I recognize how much I love my residents, the people I work with, and the family members that we can only see from a distance.
I feel blessed to be there for J. whose sister died. I share this sad news with her, pray with her, and be God’s presence for her. Another resident’s brother died. I come in on my day off and grieve with her. I can’t take it away from her but I can be there for her. I listen to her memories.
We lose some of our residents. We cry together, we hold each other and we let go knowing they are going home to God.
I feel blessed to work as a team; we grow together as a family – God’s family.
As a team – nurses, CNAs, recreation therapists, housekeepers, food and nutrition workers; we love our residents deeply and in a way that is new – God’s unending love that comes out of death. And this gives me hope; hope that comes out of darkness and makes our world brighter. We are all in this together and I strive to love as God loves and this hope gives me the strength to go deeper; deeper within the light of God.
-Sr. Katharina Maria Pies