Parish nursing begins in Madagascar.
The class went well. All the nurses and volunteers were engaged and we felt God's presence as each shared God's call and identified ways to respond through care and support.
The church volunteers all had some connection to health, even a young taxi driver who had asthma.
Three older nurses were retired from government hospitals, one young nurse works in a dispensary 30 km. away, and the young male nurse works at the local hospital doing HIV counseling. We had two wonderful translators (we don't speak French or Malagasy yet): one who works with Christian Foundation for Children and Aging and the other with Catholic Relief Services. Their community work helped them contribute relevant local examples of the material and relate well to the class. Fortunately, we had had the IPNRC Parish Nurse Basic Preparation curriculum and handouts translated into French
The students bonded well and shared personal stories of their lives, sometimes for the first time. We felt God's presence in the prayers and singing. I was amazed to see how attentive they were and how the class material, especially on the theology of health and healing, and grief and loss, touched people. One man has gained new hope in the church, and a nurse found that her own experience of family problems will be a strength for her ministry, not just a source of pain and shame. Each person was encouraged to see their gifts and know they have something to offer others.
Before we left, the pastor at a neighboring parish asked us to tell the congregation at Mass about the ministry being started. We also met with Lutheran doctors at their hospital and shared about Parish Nursing. They were happy to hear about this work and may send someone to the next class.
To date, we have heard through Bishop Donald Pelletier that the new Parish Nurses are working very hard and the pastor, Fr. Benedict is very happy to see what they are doing. We have sent them blood pressure cuffs and stethoscopes, as well as some French health education materials.
Funds for the salaries of the Parish Nurses have been obtained through the work of Al [Daniels], along with the Immaculate Conception Parish in Maplewood, MO, our own parish, who had LaSalette Missionaries serving as pastors for over 30 years, and are strongly connected with the LaSalette work in Madagascar. Immaculate Conception Parish will continue to support the work of the Parish Purses in Namahora. As the work continues to grow there, other resources will be tapped to help support these nurses."
Maureen and Al will return to continue to help this ministry grow. They have committed themselves to support this outreach in whatever way they can to help the people of Madagascar, especially through the Parish Nurse Ministry.
Maureen Daniels, RN, MN, Director of Parish Nursing at Deaconess Parish Nurse Ministries in St. Louis, returned to Madagascar this May with her husband Al, after an initial visit three years earlier. This time Maureen went to offer the first parish nurse basic preparation class, along with Dr. Thandiwe Dlamini, Parish Nurse Coordinator, Swaziland. The course was taught May 21-28 at the Cathedral of Maria Manjaka in Namahora, a Catholic Parish of about 1200-1600 people.
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|Publication:||Parish Nurse Perspectives|
|Date:||Jun 22, 2007|
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