Kill the pain, not the patient (

There will be Agony in Serving the Aged

We were a group of three to four Extraordinary Ministers of Communion, taking the Eucharist to Catholic residents in two or three nursing homes during any given week. Neither rain, nor hail, nor sleet, nor dark of blizzard winds kept us from our appointed rounds. The only thing that stopped us was the semi-annual bouts of influenza that would shut down whole wards.

  Most of our Catholic clients were aged well into their 8th or 9th decades. Most of them requested to be served communion and visits from a priest or Catholic laity members. Most of them expected a weekly visit from us. Most of them could recite the ‘Our Father’ from memory. Most of them were physically able to gnaw, then to swallow the Precious Body of Christ. Some of them were not able.

            Wednesday mornings we attended Mass and collected enough Hosts to serve approximately twenty-one to thirty people. Some times but not often enough, we had to break the hosts in half to accommodate occasional family visitors. In rare instances, we would have to return one or two excess Hosts.

            On more than one occasion, we made the rounds to discover a patient missing. I would inquire as to that person’s whereabouts only to be told that the patient had died over the weekend. I’d have to cry it out in an empty closet before rejoining my companions waiting in the reception area with a donut and coffee.

            Somehow I never expected anyone to die. No one bothered to cushion the shock of delivery for such news, and tears would come unbidden to my eyes. While the staff seemed inured to an individual’s inevitable passing from this life to the next, I wasn’t. My prayers were for their souls to pass quickly thru Purgatory to more heavenly realms.

            My name is Laura. I was the one who got called when new clients arrived. My fellow ExM’s left it up to me to keep track of all our clients by room and floor. I knew each person by name. It was up to me to cross a name off the list. That list had to be updated for our team members every month, sometimes every week.

            Kevin is a white-haired man of Irish descent who proudly proclaims his Brooklyn NY heritage. The clients call him ‘Father Flynn’, as do members of the staff. Kevin is a fast talker – it took some time for him to learn he must repeat the Our Father sl-o-o-w-ly, but he is a jolly good listener. People open up to him, especially those who spent time and money in pursuit of similar pastimes, the camaraderie of book stores, libraries and Irish taverns in historic Colorado Springs. I learned more about the city from them than is promoted by official city historians. When a male client preferred being served by a male Catholic, Kevin was their first choice.

            Pat is a rather strict, conservative ExM. He has a luxuriant head of white hair, and usually dresses in an old-fashioned shirt and tie, with a dark business suit jacket. When a client refuses to take the Host from either Kevin or me, we send in ‘Monsignor Dowling.’ Works every time. Pat is finally at the point where he doesn’t deny being a priest. He establishes a good rapport with residents who confess every week to having just eaten breakfast. He grants them special dispensation to take the Eucharist anyway. Pat came up with the blessing that we give after communion.

            Chuck, the fourth member of our team, is a snowbird who divides his time between Colorado and Arizona. He is the one who taught me how to take their hands in mine and pray with the clients. A big man, he kneels down beside every client, gently places one hand upon a frail shoulder, and prays the Memorare.

            “Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession, was left unaided…” The residents love him.

            With my clients, I learn to smile, to ask how they were doing, and to listen patiently to their replies. If they need something in particular, I would convey that message to a staff member or request a visit from a priest. The biggest joy I got was in hearing them recite with me a mystery and prayers of the Rosary. This could only be done by a few who were willing to wrench their attention away from television sets, intentionally left on by staff members who preferred they stay put.

            One blind woman could recite the all the mysteries by rote. The staff supplied her with a radio and headphones in an effort to keep her in bed. She was allowed to sit in the dining room to eat, but could not move anywhere without being pushed about in a wheel chair. One day, I came upon her when she had slipped out of the wheelchair. That was the last time I saw her out of bed.

            Two women fell sick and were given medication that muddled their brains to the point where they didn’t even recognize me, nor were they able receive the Host. I honestly braced myself against the fact that they were both about to die. Two weeks passed by, and the first one recovered. I was delighted, and recited a thanksgiving prayer with her that she was back to normal and taking communion again. The next week, they told me she had died. The second one did not fully recover her senses, but neither did she die. She no longer took communion.

            We saw people of all ages with injuries come and go after going thru therapy. Some suffered major heart problems, or underwent surgery. Some had experienced strokes. One bright-eyed youngish woman had a stroke that left her with tremors in hand and leg on one side. We prayed for a smooth, and swift recovery for those patients. Whenever one of them relocated to a room on an upper floor, we knew those patients were there to stay, and switched to prayers of peace for them.

            Every one of our clients has a history, and I ask them to share it with us – although Pat is not so much interested in their history. I try to explain the value of getting clients to talk, and he complains that I sound just like his wife. Kevin roars with laughter, but later adds conversational sessions for men at the nursing homes because he takes delight in history. And every man, every one of them has a story.

            Pat arranged with Father Michael to come give mass at the nursing home once a month for clients able to attend. He admits that not only does Kevin take communion to the clients as usual on Wednesday morning, but then the clients file in for mass where they again receive communion from the priest. Another priest told us it was okay for them to receive the host twice in one day.

            The coffee and donuts and stories shared between us after serving the weak and the infirm, warmed our hearts, and provided us with entertaining testimonies on behalf of our ministry. We parted company each week resolved to return the next week to serve them again. For me it was a ministry of joy and sorrow, and a time for making long-lasting friendships in the service of the aged. I highly recommend serving the aged if you can stand up to experiencing great sorrow, and greater joy.


A woman’s right to informed consent

A woman’s right to give an Informed Consent id typically violated by abortionists. They are, after all, in the business of killing babies rather than saving them. All they need is the woman’s signature for consent – rather commitment to their treatment before they take a sonogram. For an early term pregnancy, they’ll have women take the Abortion pill before leaving their office.

The Abortion Pill is a drug that will prevent a fertilized egg to attach to the placenta, thus depriving living cells of needed nutrition by which they grow and develop. These cells will die within three days from lack of nourishment. The woman must then take a second pill, a drug that induces cramping in order to expel the dead tissue. If a woman were to change her mind after taking that first pill, abortionists will say there is no turning back.

Are abortionists telling the truth? Maybe the person is from his/her viewpoint as an abortionist, but certainly not from the perspective of medical science. Abortion Reversal medicine is a shot of progesterone before those living cells die of starvation. Progesterone neutralizes the effects of the abortion drug, and allows a fertilized egg to attach to the placenta where life can grow and develop naturally in the mother’s womb.

Doctors Mary L. Davenport and George Delgado have trained other doctors across the United States to perform this abortion reversal for pregnant women. Progesterone is considered by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) safe to use for pregnant women, and has been used by doctors for thirty years and more as a preventive measure against early term deliveries.

There is an Abortion Reversal treatment available today. Call 1-877-558-0333, and a registered nurse will assess viability if someone you know changes their mind within 72 hours after taking an abortion pill. They will give you names and numbers of doctors in your area who are qualified and willing to give women the Abortion Reversal treatment.

For more information, see Dr. Delgado’s APR website at

Or please call this number TODAY so they can connect you with the nearest physician who can help you and yours. 1-877-558-0333.

Previously published on pikespeakcitizens for life. org

Life Support

How to help single moms with young children: volunteer for Life Support Services.

The corporal works of mercy remain a constant, especially for Linda Posey in her mission to clothe the needy. She works at sorting through sizes of donated children’s clothing as a volunteer for Life Support; where clients in need can pick up clothing for their children, new toys at Christmas and birthdays, new supplies for school, and new jackets come fall. Linda Posey has participated in these drives for almost 20 years.

“The parents and the kids feel so much better about themselves when they can start school with brand new school supplies.”

Baby clothing includes brand new layettes that Linda Posey assembles for newborn babies. She has also served as a professional baby ‘cuddler’ with nonprofit organization, Warm Hearts Warm Babies, as a volunteer for almost nine years. She says some of the babies stay for an extended period and need frequent cuddling.

Linda began volunteering for Life Support with the advent of her first grandchild. She knew first hand how hard it could be for a single mom. During her first pregnancy in 1971, she herself received support from Catholic Social Services, as it was called then in Birmingham, Alabama. She maintains close relations yet today with the family she was placed with 45 years ago. She and her daughter began to volunteer for Catholic Charities at the same time, although her daughter went on to become a labor and delivery nurse.

Linda and her late husband moved to Colorado to open a McKinzey-White Book Store. She says they found happiness in running the bookstore and raising four children here. She now boasts 12 grandchildren and two great grand children.

Linda and her husband retired in 1983 from their environmental clean up business. When asked what keeps bringing her back to volunteering at Life Support, she says that it is the knowing her work makes a difference in somebody’s life. She adds that the supply of clothes is pretty steady but there is a continuing need for a long-term commitment from volunteers.

“Since I was a single mother for a time, I know it’s hard. And today the need never stops. It just keeps getting greater. It never ends. Volunteers are really needed here.”

Matthew 7:20 So by their fruits you shall know them.

Interview with Linda Posey used with permission. Previously published in the Volunteer Voice Newsletter of Catholic Charities of Central Colorado, January 2017.