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'Dear Friends' August 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008
  

The 'Caregiver Olympics'

Dear Friends:

       Feature stories on athletes who'll be competing in the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing got us thinking about the similarities between them and family caregivers. Certainly both dedicate a lot of time and effort as they focus on a goal that, at times, presents a variety of challenges. And both, to a large extent, rely on perseverance and inner strength, even at times when they feel they can't continue. (On the other hand, unlike Olympians, sometimes caregivers have little or no time to prepare!)
       Sad to say, family caregivers may not receive any medals . . . in this life. But, be assured, they -- you -- are storing up "treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal" (Matthew 6:21).
       The 2008 Olympics also had us speculating on what some "caregiver events" might be. Perhaps. . .
       --The Sprint to the Pharmacy
       --The Swim Through Unchartered Waters (Knowing That One is in Over One's Head)
       --The Respite-Care Relay
       --The Multitasking Triathlon (assuming there are only three tasks that need to be addressed right now!)
       --And -- a mandatory event for most if not all family caregivers -- the Caregiver Marathon, where pacing oneself is the key.
       We hope that in the weeks ahead you and your loved one get a chance to watch and enjoy some of the games in Beijing together.

 - - -

       Again this week we invite you to join the Friends of St. John the Caregiver. You can find out more about becoming a member here.
    No meetings, no dues. Our members include caregivers, care-receivers, and those who support both (including quite a few former caregivers).

    God bless you!

                                                          Monica and Bill

To contact us
To join FSJC
To make a donation
To view or make prayer requests
Materials order form
Past "Dear Friends" notes
"Among Friends" quarterly newsletter
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, August 11, 2008
  

When Your Care-receiver Leaves You

Dear Friends:

       This week the Church celebrates the feast of the Assumption, Mary's being taken to heaven, body and soul. It's good to consider
-- to keep in mind -- that this event also marks the ends of St. John's caregiving duties. That's why the feast of the Assumption is a special day for all caregivers grieving the loss of their loved ones.
       It seems safe to assume that all the members of the early Christian community mourned Mary's leaving them but -- as Our Lady's primary caregiver -- St. John's sorrow, and joy, were unique.
       Sorrow because he missed her. Joy because his faith told him she was now in heaven with her Son. There was that combination of emotions whether or not Mary physically died.
       The Church doesn't say, definitively, one way or another on that issue. As the Encyclopedia of Mary explains, the Assumption is:

       A dogma of faith Pope Pius XII solemnly defined on November 1, 1950. In his apostolic constitution Munificentissimus Deus, Pius wrote: "We pronounce, declare and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory."
       Pius' use of the phrase "was assumed" indicates that the Assumption is different from Christís Ascension. And his "having completed the course of her earthly life" does not say whether or not Mary actually experienced death.
       Tradition favors the theological opinion that Mary died and was most likely buried near the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem. And, as with the body of Christ, her body did not undergo decomposition after her death and burial but was assumed intact. Theologians note that, as in the case of the Resurrection, what the dogma of the Assumption defines is seen as a reality and a truth only by those with the gift of faith, by those who accept and respond to what is contained in Divine Revelation.
       There is no explicit biblical evidence for the Assumption but, based on theological reasoning and Tradition, there is the implicit belief that Christ took his mother to himself at the moment of her leaving this life because she is one declared "full of grace" and the "highly favored daughter" of God the Father (Lk 1:28).

        Of course, the caregiver and care-receiver aspects of this week's feast aren't just for caregivers whose loved ones have passed away. Many, many caregivers can testify that as their care-receivers have become more ill, their loved ones have "left them," little by little. The loss -- and the grieving -- don't begin with death. It can start weeks, months or years before that day.
       May Our Lady in Need and St. John the Caregiver be with all those whose care-receivers have left them, with all those whose care-receivers are gradually leaving them.

- - -

        Please join us in welcoming the newest members of the Friends of St. John the Caregiver. "Hello" to Timothy B. in Iowa and Susan T. in California. Please keep them and their intentions in your prayers. They've promised to pray for caregivers and those receiving care.
   And, of course, we invite you to join, too! You can find out more about becoming a member here.
    No meetings, no dues. Our members include caregivers, care-receivers, and those who support both (including quite a few former caregivers).

    God bless you!

                                                          Monica and Bill

To contact us
To join FSJC
To make a donation
To view or make prayer requests
Materials order form
Past "Dear Friends" notes
"Among Friends" quarterly newsletter
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weeks of August 18 and 25, 2008
  

'Spiritual Companions' to Caregivers and Care-receivers

Dear Friends:

       Every week we include the first names of the newest members of the Friends of St. John the Caregiver. While we do this regularly, it's never routine. We truly appreciate each and every person who has promised to pray for caregivers and those receiving care.
       This week, for example, we welcome Jason L. in Ohio and Anita B. in Virginia. They join members in eight countries on four continents.
       It's wonderful to be able to tell caregivers and care-receivers that people "around the world" are praying for them. But, because that membership is so spread out, it seems there's no time or place when everyone gets together.
       We were thinking about that as both major political parties in the United States prepare for their national conventions later this month and in early September. FSJC members don't head for a hall with banners waving and flags flying. There are no speeches or resolutions or balloons or confetti.
       Still . . .
       We are united. In prayer. In purpose.
       There is a particular time: members are asked to pray especially on the 27th of each month because the feast of the patron saint of caregivers -- John the Evangelist -- is December 27th.
       And there is a place: members come together at Mass. Separated physically, we can be united spiritually in the Eucharist, in that wonderful sacrament Jesus instituted on the night before he asked St. John the care for his mother and he asked his mother to accept St. John's help.
       If you're old enough to have had a little Latin in high school, you may remember "cum" means "with" and "panis" is "bread." Companions are those who share bread.
       Spiritual companions are those who share the Bread of Life.
       We ask God to richly bless the members of the Friends of St. John the Caregiver, each a spiritual companion to caregivers and care-receivers worldwide.
       And, as we do every week, we invite you to become a member if you aren't one already. You can find out more about becoming a member here.
    No meetings, no dues!

    God bless you!

                                                          Monica and Bill

To contact us
To join FSJC
To make a donation
To view or make prayer requests
Materials order form
Past "Dear Friends" notes
"Among Friends" quarterly newsletter
 

 

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