On the evening of July 20, we celebrated Emily’s year of service as a Redeemer Ministry Corps volunteer with a Mass of Thanksgiving. Although this year’s gathering was limited due to Covid-19 restrictions, a small group of Sisters, supervisors and a few special guests were present for the Closing Liturgy while the larger Redeemer Family joined us via livestream. Before Mass concluded, we had the opportunity to hear from Emily on what her RMC experience meant to her:
Well, here goes nothing…I had a really hard time trying to come up with what to write for my final reflection. I have had a number of new experiences, met so many incredible people, and learned countless valuable lessons, all of which I long to share with the world. But, last night as I sat there with a computer on my lap and fingers on the keys, I didn’t know what to write. While thinking, I heard Lisa’s little voice in my head, “Write about what RMC means to you.” Okay, fair enough. Quite literally, RMC means Redeemer Ministry Corps, yet these three letters can stand for so much more. I’ll take this time to share with you what it is that RMC means to me.
R stands for Relationships.
In particular, I am referring to the relationships formed with those at my ministry sites. At the Drueding Center, I found myself surrounded by co-workers, young families, and pantry members. While in the ICU, I was able to work alongside dedicated nurses, doctors, fellow PCAs, and other staff. It was such a blessing that at both sites I had supervisors and other unofficial mentors take me under their wing. I had people to vent to, laugh with, and people who would push me to be my best self. I learned what it truly meant to be part of a team, through the good and the bad, which is something that will always stick with me. I could also never forget the special encounters that I had with moms at DC or the patients at Holy Redeemer Hospital. I did find it easier to form relationships with the latter because as it turns out, wearing bright pink scrubs is a pretty good icebreaker. It can also come in handy when a patient doesn’t know your name because they can and have in fact asked the nurse, “Where’s Pinky?” But just because it was more difficult to foster relationships with the moms didn’t make them any less rewarding. It just took more time to build up trust, which is not uncommon with people who have had a history of trauma. In the beginning, a typical phone conversation may have gone like this…”Hello?” “Hi. This is Emily from the Drueding Cetner I was calling because…Hello? Helloooo? Omg, she just hung up on me.” But after months of continual kindness, hosting a variety of programs, handing out smoothies, and getting to know the moms by completing their children’s developmental assessments, there were breakthroughs. I will always cherish the conversation with one mom that ended with “You do really care about us and want us to be happy.” Exactly.
Our next letter, M, stands for Mission.
At the very beginning of the year, I was tasked with creating a mission statement. I wrote that my mission was “one of intentionality- to love deeply, live simply, and shine brightly as to share the light of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.” Each day I would strive to live up to what I had set out to do. While it could be difficult some days, I was always up for the challenge. This is what I signed up for after all. In the back of my mind was also the mission of the Sisters of the Redeemer- to care, comfort, heal- which I also tried my best to embody. During the Pandemic, I felt called to act upon this mission by taking a temporary leave from the Drueding Center to serve full time in the ICU. This was not an easy decision to make, but I felt that it was the right thing to do. And I know with all my heart that Mother Alphonse Maria would have done the same thing in order to be among the sick. I was on a mission and though quite frightening, I had courage for God was and still is with me.
And C, my personal favorite, stands for Community Life.
“Emily, did you just say that living with nuns was the best part of the year?” Yes, I did. As one would expect, living with religious sisters meant we did a bit of praying. And trust me, I did do my fair share of being the prayer leader, but I much prefer the title “Prayer Boss”. When we weren’t in prayer, there was a very high probability that at any moment in time someone in the house was watching a Hallmark movie. But don’t let this fool you, the Province Center was anything but boring! At times, tomatillos were on the floor of the laundry room or whipped cream was on the cabinets of the kitchen, both of which I take no blame for. There were Halloween parties, Easter egg hunts, and lots of 50s and 60s Rock & Roll. Mealtimes, my favorite and not just because of the food, were always a special occasion where we could gather together and simply be with one another. While we have been dining in smaller groups as of late, I can still recall the vibrance when all of the communities were able to share their gifts and stories with one another. However, I’m pretty sure I may have scared some of the sisters with my energy and enthusiasm. For example, I once asked one of the sisters if she spoke Spanish when she responded, “No.” I excitedly exclaimed, “That’s how you say ‘no’ in Spanish!” to which she nervously giggled and called me cute. That’s only one interaction among many others que nunca voy a olvidar (that I will never forget).
So there you have it. This is what RMC means to me- Relationships, Mission, and Community Life. Even still, there is so much more that can be taken away from the Redeemer Ministry Corps program like simple living, care for creation, and faith development to name a few. It has truly been a one of a kind experience and I hope to be able to share it with you in more detail.
As I conclude, I would like to thank all of those who have been a part of this journey. I am grateful for the ones who I have met along the way and those who have been there all along. Thank you.
The recording of the RMC Closing Mass can be found here.