February 11, 2015

'A Ministry Which Brings Me Much Joy

My name is Sister Marie Etheridge. I am a Sister of Mercy of Newfoundland. I began my Ministry of Healing at the young age of seventeen when I began my training as a Licensed Practical Nurse.

My initial experience was in a hospital setting which included ministry in obstetrics, pediatrics and a variety of other areas. I knew from the beginning that I was entering a profession that was dear to my heart. I found that in ministering to others in their need, my own life was being enriched. As I grew and matured in my healing ministry, something deeper began to stir in me. Eventually I realized that that stirring was God calling me to further dedicate my life in healing ministry as a Sister of Mercy.

St Patrick's Mercy Home long-term care
facility located in St. John's, opened in 1958
Sr Marie rsm (lright) with one of the seniors at St Patrick's

At present I am working in gerontology at St. Patrick’s Mercy Home, our long-term care facility.

Our elders are some of the most vulnerable persons in our society and I endeavour to treat each woman and man in my care with the utmost concern for their physical, spiritual, emotional and social well-being. There are occasions when I find myself acting as an advocate for an elderly residents to ensure that the person is being treated with respect and genuine concern. There is never a dull moment working among 210 wonderful seniors whose life experiences and diverse personalities bring color and sunshine to my life.

Sr Marie rsm (lright) with some of her colleagues at St Patrick's
The Gathering Place is a service centre
committed to building community, promoting equality and providing nourishment to its many clients

Another form of Healing Ministry that I really enjoy is my volunteer work at The Gathering Place. This facility is sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The programs and services of the Gathering Place are offered primarily to people who are homeless or who live in less than desirable conditions. Many of the guests suffer from mental illness, addictions and other problems. I am a trained hairdresser. My role here is to volunteer my services in the GP Beauty Salon. It gives me great delight to style a woman’s hair the way she wants it and to see her smile with satisfaction when she looks at her new image in the mirror. She holds her head a little higher as she walks back to her friends.

And what man doesn’t like to have a free haircut and beard trim? These hours in the Beauty Salon are fun times when many stories are shared and a good deal of laughter accompanies the snip of the scissors and the twist of the curling iron.

My Ministry of Healing to the sick and elderly and to the underprivileged in our midst, is a ministry which brings me much joy. I try each day to live faithfully the Charism of Mercy handed down to us by Catherine McAuley and thus to continue to grow in my love for God and God’s suffering people.

Messages to: Marie Etheridge rsm

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