Saturday, June 13, 2015

Dreams for a Catholic hospital

This is not exactly the heyday of Catholic healthcare. Then again, it wasn't exactly popular to set up hospitals in the days of St. Basil, either. So, ignoring the largely ambivalent-at-best atmosphere for Catholic hospitals, I have been dreaming of starting a truly Catholic hospital since college. I've been jotting down ideas for eight years.

The first thing I wanted, oddly enough, were placards with quotes from saints and Scripture on suffering. These would hang opposite each patient bed in every room, accompanied by crucifixes, and routinely changed. The hospital and have semi-private rooms for companionship with others, which is important in illness. (Of course, the hospital would also have private rooms, which are necessary in certain circumstances.)

The hospital would need a dedicated staff of the nurses, but also some employees who would spend time with patients, escorting them at the end of life or accompanying them on the way of the cross. For this purpose, I wasn't sure who I would hire. Volunteers? Nuns? Retired people? I'm still not sure. But I wanted someone to spend time with the sick. I thought about a renewal of Catholic religious sisters. The Sisters of Mercy, the Ursulines.... This kind of project cries out to be done, and it cries out for consecrated people. Who will do it?

I would look for doctors who know the purpose of their art: pro-life, and pro-family. I would look for pharmacists who would treat people as persons.  I would look for chaplains who would celebrate daily Mass in a prominent chapel and visit, visit, visit patients.

In college, I sort of wanted to be the person who would "do it" but I didn't think it would be me, and I didn't seriously want to do all that. I prayed that God would send an instrument, like he sent St. Pio to Italy. (When I heard all the work that Jere Palazzo had to do to try a similar facility in Kentucky, I was sure that this was out of my league.)

Now, I am not so sure. I am afraid that one of these "instruments" I prayed for, is me. I may be one of multiple instruments, but I am less and less able to escape the feeling that I should start something crazy, even while healthcare is falling to pieces and religion is intolerable.

1 comment:

  1. I will pray earnestly about this for you. What a beautiful vision.
    If I were not married, I could think of no more wonderful vocation than to be a member of an order that had this very mission: to attend the sick and dying. What a privilege! What a work of mercy!