The other night, my sister and I spent two hours on the phone talking about dreams. Big dreams. She described a wonderful school she wants to start; I admitted that I want to start a hospital.
Her school is very well conceived. She wants to make good use of students' time instead of stressing them out by keeping them in fruitless programs during the day and activities until late at night. She wants to pay teachers based on merit, teach practical skills (e.g. home ec), and incorporate service. I'm so impressed by her desires to mold better people without all the fat in our current schooldays!
My hospital was less complete in my mind. First, I am very unsatisfied with the nursing shortage, the over-technicalization of patient care, and the treatment of crises instead of persons. I'm especially fed up with these problems because of my visits to nursing homes. I want dedicated persons who will stay with patients and get to know them, instead of coming in when the light is on or when there is a form to fill out.
In addition, I want a hospital that is wholly Catholic—half retreat-house, half hospital! I want the chaplaincy to be about truth (not comfort), and I want it to be very available. I want to hang Crucifixes in the rooms instead of TVs, and place placards with good quotes from the saints and scriptures. Being ill is like beauty—a natural thing that jerks our attention to the supernatural. In a culture so bent away from God, sickness is an ever-remaining crack that Christ can use to pry His way in. A holy hospital can do great good in saving souls!
Then, my sister and I started talking about the breakdown of the family; then, we voiced hopes that our family of origin will remain close together (our extended family is stretched all over, and I think we don't want that for the next generation); finally, we ended up dreaming of creating a Catholic planned community outside some city. Think: if there were two thousand Catholic cities all over the nation, what sort of effect could there be! A concentrated effort can be better than a dispersed one; my hospital would be safe from legislation there (since it would serve primarily Catholics); studies could show how good social teaching improves economies, moods, etc.... So, pretty much I want to go start a city now. (This is what happens when two girls stay up late on the phone!)
God keep this desire to spread holiness in me; God show me how I ought to direct it.