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A volunteer's intercession

July 15, 2013
by Kathleen Mears
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Margie, (pseudonym), a lay minister from the Roman Catholic Church, has visited this facility for over a year. She took over for two nuns who were relocated. As far as I know, a male resident and I are the only Catholics here. Margie visits every Sunday and brings us Communion.

Since few volunteers visit, I am pleased to see Margie. We have a short visit, pray about my concerns and then I receive Communion, which makes me feel connected to the church.

Matthew (pseudonym), the other Catholic, has lived here for a couple of years. He is in his early 60s, has mental health issues and his family lives three hours away. He feels disconnected, trapped and struggles with his life here. He can be quite vocal when he is having an episode so most staff and residents like to stay away from him.

Matthew feels comfortable with Margie. He often tells me what a wonderful person she is. I agree with him and remind him to pray to calm himself.

Margie told me she volunteered after she had lost her auto factory job. As a single mother of two teenage girls, she was depressed and hoped coming here would make her feel needed. After a few visits Margie told me she began to count her blessings. Within a few months she found another job which she likes.

Margie visits with most of the residents and has become attached to them. She told me she brings things they request such as Bibles and prayer books. She is also probably responsible for the resident Christmas gifts given by the local parish.

A month ago, Margie visited on a Sunday evening. She was talking to a male resident in a wheelchair when Matthew began talking to her. Matthew got louder and an aide stepped in. She got close to his face and loudly told him Margie would leave if he did not calm down. But Matthew did not cower, he got even louder.

Margie found herself pinned between the resident in the wheelchair, Matthew and the aide. With Matthew and the aide talking loudly, Margie feared Matthew might strike out at the aide. Thinking quickly, Margie linked her arm into Matthew's and said, "Come we're going for a walk down the hall. He went with Margie and the situation was defused.

We residents are grateful Margie takes the time to visit us. She’s made a positive impact on our lives and I hope we have made one on hers.

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Kathleen Mears

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Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...