In the past 2 years, my husband’s father, mother and sister all died after suffering for several years from chronic illnesses. I gained a great appreciation for the caregivers who came in day in, day out, through scorching heat and big snows to care for our loved ones. I only mention this because the Servants of Mary, Ministers to the Sick, who provide the same loving care, are profiled in an article in the Kansas City Nursing News.
They, amongst other things, offer respite to families who are caring for sick ones at home who are near death or suffer from chronic illnesses or disabilities. The caregivers are often overwhelmed, sleep-deprived and at the end of their rope. Some cannot afford health care at home or want to care for the loved one themselves. All need and want someone loving to assist them at times. This is where the sisters come in.
The 29 sisters in Kansas City provide respite care for caregivers/families at no charge, usually at night. They believe they are serving Jesus when they care for the sick, in imitation of Mary who stayed at the foot of the Cross. Sister Cristela Mackinnon said, “We want to be there. It makes (the patients) change, too. We’re giving our whole life to the care of the sick.”
“If you’re lucky to get a sister, it’s just like angels coming in to help you,” said Marcy Klein, RN, with Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care. Ruben Rabanal, a social worker with Compassionate Care Hospice, said, “We really, really need them. We need more of them.”
The congregation was founded by Mother Soledad Torres Acosta, who was canonized in 1970. They have 128 convents around the world. I am praying for more American vocations so that a convent may be built near me! In fact, we all need them close by.