Sister Juana Matías is a second-year CCVI novice. Each novice participates in a significant ministry experience as part of the discernment process leading up to their First Profession of Vows, God willing, later this year. Please remember Sr. Juana Matías in prayer.
“It is almost too much for the heart to take. “
Serving uninsured patients and the poor at CHRISTUS St. Mary’s Clinic
BY SR. JUANA MATÍAS TOMÁS, CCVI
My life experiences are like pieces of a puzzle that make up the ministry profile that God uses to prepare me for serving; together they bring me perspective. What I believe about God helps determine how to handle my experiences – past, present, and future.
I started helping at St. Mary’s Clinic on Nov. 30 of last year. Since that time, it has been a privilege, along with some feelings of sadness, for me to encounter many patients with different illnesses who come from different countries. Of course, I am happy to hear many people speak Spanish, my primary language. Many individuals who enter the doors of St. Mary’s are experiencing many problems and illnesses in their lives; these human beings long to be seen and heard.
I am touched by how the people extend love to me each day and I feel God’s presence in them. I am committed to providing holistic personal care to these patients. That means going above and beyond to care, not just for their physical needs, but for their emotional and spiritual needs as well. The good news is that it can be as easy as saying a quick prayer or offering a comforting touch, but sometimes it is not as simple as that. When I interact with them, I imagine what it is like to be in their shoes and I ask God for wisdom to support them in the way they need it most. BECAUSE…
Day by day tears are welling up inside me when I see how much turmoil, sadness, and disbelief exist; it is almost too much for the heart to take. I hear children crying and I listen to stories of why many people have come to this country — some dying, hungry, thirsty, needy, no love given and their vacant eyes stare distantly. There are so many hurting, so many feeling hopeless, so many lost, abandoned, sick, and dying. Sometimes, I am too far away to love and give what they deserve as a human being. So, all I can do is be compassionate and assist in any way that I can. I ask God to hug these loved ones, especially those in need today, and to take away their pain — women lost without their homes and unemployed men in despair because they have no income to support their families. Some have been separated because of floods, fires, and storms. Some have watched death take victory which has left them feeling numb. Some experience desperation; they have been left behind and they feel overwhelmed by each new tragedy. I try to support them in their tragedy and to treat them with the utmost compassion and let them know they are valued as human beings. That is why I serve and care and stand for the broken — to help them release their feelings of emptiness, this sense of worthlessness, and to know their dignity as children of God.
I am so grateful to have this meaningful experience. I am happy to serve God’s people, especially during this most challenging time. It has not been easy for any of us to encounter people with such grave needs. I believe God has given me the grace to continue in this calling because even in the midst of such suffering I am finding joy.
I love the ministry that the congregation is doing for these people in need. I know it is challenging sometimes but trusting in God with hope I will persevere in this mission. Monsignor Dubuis, our founder, will pray for us. You and I are here to carry on what he started long, long ago.
Praised be the Incarnate Word. Forever! Amen.