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"No, I was praying."

Hi! I’m Sr. Mary Gianna. I just started working in our hospital as an x-ray tech in September. My apostolate is still very new and I have a lot to learn practically. That is to say, I’m just learning how to do my job. In the midst of feeling inadequate and often needing help from the other techs I’ve had some moments when I’ve experienced why I am in our x-ray department. Our Constitutions say that our first witness is always our consecrated life- i.e. before anything else people need me to be a Sister. It’s who I am and not what I do.

As an x-ray tech I go into surgery periodically. If a doctor is putting in metal parts or just needs to see what’s going on inside as he’s repairing fractured bones he’ll ask me to take an x-ray there in the surgery room. I was in one surgery that happened to run during the time that our community prays midday prayers. Since I wasn’t able to leave the surgery I sat down on a stool in a corner and prayed. The doctor teased later on in the surgery “Hey, Sister! Were you sleeping? I saw you over there with your eyes closed!” To which I responded “No, I was praying.” The doctor looked surprised and taken off guard. And there was a similar reaction from the other doctors and nurses in the room. I could tell the atmosphere changed a bit.

Later on in the same surgery the nurses were having trouble keeping the adjustable overhead light in place. They would pull it to focus where they needed it, and then the light would drift away a bit. The same doctor looked over at me and suggested “Sister, how about praying that the lights don’t drift?” Which I did. “Lord, if You want it…” I had the feeling that the staff in the room would be intrigued and moved to faith in the power of prayer if the Lord decided to keep the light in place. The next time they moved the light it drifted a tiny bit, and then stayed in place for the rest of the surgery. The nurse who had moved it turned around to look at me with wide eyes above her surgery mask.

I am grateful to the Lord for these moments that remind me that who I am as a Sister is so much more important than my x-ray skills. I am in our hospital to bring the presence of God and His love to our patients and our staff. What I do is secondary. It’s a great lesson since our culture places so much emphasis on doing and producing. And the Lord grounds us in being. He is the great I AM, He who IS.


Anonymous said…
Thank you....This writing leaves me asking,
"...before anything else people need me to
be a __________?
Sr. Ann Marie said…
I think that the concept of who you are being more important than what you do is all part of the Franciscan charism--that relationship is inseparable from ministry--all part of being evangelical as apposed to apostolic. Thanks for your sharing.

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