World Day of the Sick
Friday, February 11 marked the annual World Day of the Sick. Established by Pope John Paul II in 1992, this observance coincides with the commemoration of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Marian shrine noted for its curative waters.
Each year, this day invites us to offer prayers for those suffering from illnesses but also for their caregivers. It is an opportunity, as Pope John Paul II envisioned, “for growth, with an attitude of listening, reflection, and effective commitment in the face of the great mystery of pain and illness.”
As we continue to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, this World Day of the Sick—this opportunity—seems especially meaningful and welcome.
The theme for this year’s World Day of the Sick—“Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (Lk 6:36)—is particularly significant for healthcare workers, caregivers, and volunteers, Pope Francis tells us. As caretakers of those suffering from illness, their compassionate hands are a sign of the merciful hands of the Father.
Although medical science has made great progress with cutting-edge research, new technologies, and novel therapies, the Pontiff reminds us, we should remain ever mindful of “the uniqueness of each patient, his or her dignity and frailties.”
The patient is always more important than the disease.
“Even when healing is not possible,” Pope Francis observes, “care can always be given. It is always possible to console.” He adds: “It is always possible to make people sense a closeness that is more interested in the person than in his or her pathology.”
As Little Sisters of the Poor, we strive to offer person-centered care that recognizes and celebrates the uniqueness of all the elderly we serve.
On this Friday afternoon, Fr. Bill Cullen helped us honor this day. With the aspergillum in hand and accompanied by Little Sisters, Fr. Bill walked the several hallways of St. Mary’s Home, from bottom to top and down again, sprinkling holy water and blessing not only Residents and staff but also the various living spaces and work areas, pausing here and there to offer an individual prayer and an attentive ear.
From St. Mary’s, Fr. Bill and the Little Sisters moved on to Jugan Terrace. We recently welcomed Fr. Bill as a Resident of Jugan, and he was delighted and thankful to bless his neighbors and their apartments.
On this World Day of the Sick, on this Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, our entire family had the opportunity to share a special moment to pause, to listen, to reflect.
As Little Sisters, we see the face of Jesus in all the elderly we are fortunate and blessed to serve, aided in our mission and work by our kind and thoughtful benefactors.
May our united efforts to care for the poor, the sick, and the most vulnerable among us inspire others to know the merciful hand and gracious, powerful love of our Heavenly Father.