My name is Pauline Clarke and I am a member of Marie Reparatrice community in Douglas, Cork, Ireland. I would like to share with you one of my ministries, which involves hospital visitation. The Hospital I visit is called St. Finbarr’s, one of the main hospitals in Cork City. I am a member of a team known as ‘The Friends of St. Finbarr’s. Visiting the sick and disabled is a mutually enriching experience as I find myself drawn into the lives of those whom otherwise I would never meet. Once a week two or three of us meet in the day room of one of the many wards where from five to seven or eight patients are brought. They are in various stages of disability in mind and body. We have a two hourly or so session providing activities which help to stimulate the patients. The most popular activity is Bingo! Prizes are simple and bring joy to the winners! Sometimes I am known as ‘Sister’ and other times as’ the Bingo lady’!
Another aspect of my ministry is contact person for pastoral care which entails visiting a patient on one to one basis who needs more attention than the already over worked staff are able to provide. These are mostly people who might not have too long to live and maybe have no family or have family problems and may not often be visited.
I was invited to attend a course in Cork University Hospital called ‘Hospice friendly Hospitals’—Putting Hospice Principles into Hospital Practice. The course consisted of input from a dynamic presenter, workshops, discussions and feedback. All of this was very informative and helpful in many ways. It shows how we can live out the orientations from the General Chapter 2007, showing the tenderness of God to the elderly and isolated. I will leave you with a quote from Bono, the U2 frontman whom you all have heard of I am sure.
“ How we care for the sick and dying is surely a test of our humanity…just as we fight for equality in life, we should fight for equality in death.”