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'Dear Friends' September 2013

Weeks of September 23 and30, 2013
Prayer Requests 

St. Vincent de Paul on Serving Those in Need

Dear Friends:

     This Friday, Sept. 27, is the feast of St. Vincent de Paul (c.1580-1660). One of his many quotes that I've particularly liked, and used when talking about caregiving, is:

     "When you are called from your prayers or the Eucharistic celebration to serve the poor, you lose nothing, since to serve the poor is to go to God. You must see God in the faces of the poor."

     I have no doubt that includes those whose health is poor, our dear care-receivers.
     Yes, you would like to get to Mass on time (or get there at all!) or attend an annual retreat or just have the energy to pray more each day but . . .
     But at this period in your life as you continue to live your God-given vocation of caregiver, those may not be possible. Find comfort in the fact that "you lose nothing."
     Here are a few more wonderful quotes from St. Vincent:

     "It is from your hands that Our Lord, in the person of the sick, seeks relief."

      "Let us love God, my brothers, let us love God. But let it be with the strength of our arms and the sweat of our brow."

     "Outpourings of affection for God, of resting in his presence, of good feelings toward everyone and sentiments and prayers like these ... are suspect if they do not express themselves in practical love which has real effects."

     "The net result of my experience on the matter is the judgment I have formed, that true religion -- true religion, gentlemen -- true religion is to be found among the poor."

And one prayer:

     "Lord, help me to make time today to serve you in those who are most in need of encouragement or assistance."
 

St. John the Caregiver
-- and St. Vincent de Paul!
-- pray for us.

- - -

     This week we're so pleased to welcome Jan N. of Louisiana as the newest member of the Friends of St. John the Caregiver. Please keep her and her intentions in your prayers. She has promised to pray for you and yours.
     And we cordially invite you to join the Friends of St. John the Caregiver! (FSJC's programs include YourAgingParent.com and CatholicCaregivers.com.) You can find out more about becoming a member here.
     No meetings, no dues. All we ask is that you pray for caregivers and those receiving care. Our members include caregivers, care-receivers, and those who support both (including quite a few former caregivers).
     You can:

        sign up on-line here
       
        or call us toll-free at 1-800-392-JOHN (5646)
      
        or print and mail an application form.

     God bless you!

                                                  Bill

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

 

Week of September 16, 2013
Prayer Requests 

Imitating God by Saying 'No!"

Dear Friends:

     Over the past eight months since Monica's death I've noticed some parallels between grieving and caregiving. One is exhaustion. Another is the value of saying "no."
     Of saying "No, no, no!"
     That's had me thinking about how most of us accept the fact that sometimes God says "no" to our requests. Well, perhaps "accept" isn't the right word. On more than a few occasions it's more "grudgingly learn to live with." Then, too, his "sometimes" can seem to be "way too often."
     In the big picture, we know why he says that. It's in our own best interests. It's better for us.
     The same is true as a caregiver (or a griever). Sometimes, in our own best interests, we have to say "no."
     No, I can't supply any baked goods for the annual fund raiser.
     No, I can't host Thanksgiving dinner for the extended family.
     No, I can't . . . make it to Sunday Mass this week.
     There a things you want to do, things you normally would do, and even things you think you should be that, right now, you simply aren't able to do because, right now, taking care of your loved one is priority number one.
     But even consider a decision like that and, so often, guilt comes rushing in.
     I should bake cookies. It will only take an hour or so. I'm being lazy.
     I should host Thanksgiving dinner. It's a tradition that everyone looks forward to. I'm being selfish.
     I not only should make it to Sunday Mass, I really want to make it there. I'm being sinful.
     Over the past two years I've come to realize it takes effort, and practice, to say "no." And, good news!, I've discovered it gets easier.
     As a caregiver, your "no" is probably the exact opposite of being lazy or selfish or sinful. It can be, truly, imitating the One who created us in his own image.

- - -

     This week we're so pleased to welcome Mary C. of New York as the newest member of the Friends of St. John the Caregiver. Please keep her and her intentions in your prayers. She has promised to pray for you and yours.
     And we cordially invite you to join the Friends of St. John the Caregiver! (FSJC's programs include YourAgingParent.com and CatholicCaregivers.com.) You can find out more about becoming a member here.
     No meetings, no dues. All we ask is that you pray for caregivers and those receiving care. Our members include caregivers, care-receivers, and those who support both (including quite a few former caregivers).
     You can:

        sign up on-line here
       
        or call us toll-free at 1-800-392-JOHN (5646)
      
        or print and mail an application form.

     God bless you!

                                                  Bill

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

 

Weeks of September 2 and 9, 2013
Prayer Requests 

Grades, Grades and Caregiving

Dear Friends:

     Back-to-school time has reminded me that there isn't much about my school days that I miss. I was glad to be done when I was done. But, it's occurred to me, there were two parts of school that would be helpful if they could be applied to caregiving. The first is grades and the second is . . . grades.
     Throughout the nine months of any grade -- whether one through twelve or even in graduate school -- you pretty much knew where you stood. Attend class and pay attention, complete the homework assignments, pass the tests, learn the material and that was that. Yes, it took work but you could tell, and your teacher could tell, that you were progressing.
     Then, at the end of the school year or term, you were moved up to the next level and, for the most part, were ready to meet its challenges.
     Grades -- your test scores and report cards; and grades -- being promoted from one class to the next.
     But, as you know, with caregiving . . . it can be tough to tell how you're doing. And, I suspect, most caregivers give themselves lower marks than they really deserve. They notice their weak spots (and we all have them) and gloss over their strengths (and we all have those, as well).
     Then, too, there's no teacher. No tutor. No mentor. Yes, there are professionals to help and books and websites and the advice of "veteran" caregivers but caregiving isn't like learning multiplication tables. Every caregiver's experience is unique because every caregiver and his or her care-receiver is unique.
     With caregiving there's no moving from grade to grade at a steady and expected pace. Again as you know, it can suddenly shift from only a small amount of care needed to a great deal that's demanded. From a sense of feeling relatively comfortable in your role to feeling unprepared and overwhelmed. That can happen even to the point of honestly recognizing and being forced to admit and accept that you're no longer able to provide the care your loved one now needs. The care you so want to offer but simply can't.
     That can be one form of a caregiver's "graduation" and it's such a tough one for both you and your care-receiver.
     Another, and so much happier form, can be that your loved one's health improves to the point that he or she no longer needs care. What a glorious day that is!
     Of course there's one more way your caregiving time may end: with the death of your dear care-receiver. What a tough day that is, followed by a period that's challenging in so many ways.
     As always, dear Friends, you remain in my prayers.

- - -

     This week we're so pleased to welcome Cathy M. of Ohio and Darlene M. of Virginia as the newest members of the Friends of St. John the Caregiver. Please keep them and their intentions in your prayers. They have promised to pray for you and yours.
     And we cordially invite you to join the Friends of St. John the Caregiver! (FSJC's programs include YourAgingParent.com and CatholicCaregivers.com.) You can find out more about becoming a member here.
     No meetings, no dues. All we ask is that you pray for caregivers and those receiving care. Our members include caregivers, care-receivers, and those who support both (including quite a few former caregivers).
     You can:

        sign up on-line here
       
        or call us toll-free at 1-800-392-JOHN (5646)
      
        or print and mail an application form.

     God bless you!

                                                  Bill

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

 

 

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