Embracing the sacred privilege of pastoral care
Salvatorian Sister Jenada Fanetti visits sick and dying residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and homebound residents in and around the village of Mt. Calvary, Wis. She shares about one of many times she felt inspired by God in her pastoral care ministry.
“A man in our village was taken to the hospital by ambulance. I had no prior connection with him, and learned he had three months to live because of cancer. My heart was moved to go to the hospital and visit him. He had been distant from the Church for many years. I begged God to use me and guide my words and actions during my time with him.
“I gave him a crucifix as a reminder that God knows what he’s experiencing. I also gave him a copy of my Prayer for Strength. When his nurse came into the room he said, ‘Look what Sister gave me.’ I knew it was a sign he was open and ready to receive God’s love. I told him how deeply he is loved by God. I left the hospital room that day with my heart overflowing with gratitude to God.
“Our visits continued for a few weeks, but at the time he did not want to see a priest. Prior to his death, he called our pastor and asked for a funeral in our Catholic Church. My pastor told me later that I was a bridge that brought this man back to the Church. God was working through me.”
Sr. Jenada says family members often place the gift of her crucifix beside, or in the hands of their deceased loved one in the casket. She sees it as a sign that the crucifix has been a meaningful symbol that brought strength in a time of suffering.