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health care1Friday of this week is the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and the World Day of the Sick.

Pope Francis has chosen "Be merciful even as your Father is merciful” (Lk. 6:36) as the theme for the 30th celebration of this day.

As Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto, we have been attending monthly seminars on the history of our early beginnings in the mid-17th century. Our early history included village centres or hospices which were open to the sick but also to the indigent orphans and widows and really anyone who needed care. These were real centers of mercy.

This drew me to Pope Francis' description of health care centres as "houses of mercy providing healthcare to the poor and marginalized." Health care in our society has become state-of-the-art, sophisticated and technological. And yet, Pope Francis noted that there are often barriers to care due to poverty and social exclusion.

Pope Francis seemed to be urging us to still keep the same spirit in our care as we had in the 17th century when the institution in the village reached out and was available to all those in need. To search for that spirit in our surroundings and in ourselves.

Looking around the City of Toronto, I see that the spirit of loving mercy in union with the Father Son and Spirit which Pope Francis is urging is still present.

I see it in St. Michael's Hospital's Department of Family and Community Medicine offering care for those experiencing homelessness. In Street Health's nursing and community mental health services. In Inner City Health Associates connecting Toronto's people in need to health services. In the Sherbourne Health Bus program. In Toronto's nurses and physicians providing care in this time of COVID.

Not all of us are health care workers. But like them, we can carry mercy within us for ourselves and for others.

I invite you to ask yourselves: how can you yourself be a center of care?

Let us pray for all those in health care these days that God’s mercy will shine down on them and through them.

Please click here to read Pope Francis' complete message.

Sister Rosemary Fry


Previous Wisdom Wednesdays

Out of deep respect for those who have cared for these lands since time immemorial, we are committed to tread lightly on the land, protect water as sacred, and affirm our desire for right relations with all Indigenous Peoples. - From our CSJ Land Acknowledgement

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