Today is a short mission overall for us and one in which we will enjoy a reunion as well. It is chilly and overcast as we leave Indy for the short trip to St. Louis. The skies remain overcast as we fly through both snow and ice before arriving in St. Louis to a misty rain. We are excited to be picking up 84 year old Sister MaryAnn and take her to the “Mother House” as she fondly refers to it, outside Chicago. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and will live out whatever time the Lord allows her among her sisters here.
We were blessed many years ago when we transported Sister Hildegard from Denver to the same place back on Mission # 4. WOW !!! God has brought us so far over these 10 years and the Sisters have continued to stay in contact and support us over the years. Now here we are 505 missions later, God is allowing us another opportunity to serve these ladies once again. We arrive to find Sister MaryAnn sitting on the side of her bed. She is tiny and petite and very soft spoken.
She is dressed in blue sweats and her short gray hair is neatly brushed. She definitely does not look her age I would have guessed her to be 60. She has a sweet gentle smile. We scoop her up and place a soft warm gray blanket over her as we leave the facility.
Hal is waiting when we arrive and as we do with every patient we pause to pray before boarding. It was so cute as soon as Hal told her we were going to pray……she jumped right in and led the prayer. We are not used to that but it was a wonderful change.
Our flight was quite short and full of great conversation. She enjoyed her window seat and some almonds as we flew and chatted.
Sister MaryAnn was born and raised in St. Louis along with her 3 sisters and 1 brother. Their father passed away when Sister MaryAnn was only 1 year and 3 days old. Their mom raised them by herself and lived to be 94 years old. They lost their brother in 1966 and besides herself another one of her sisters, Carolyn, went on to be a nun as well. She is actually 91 years old and lives at the “Mother House” too. Sister MaryAnn is a huge Cardinal fan and said she grew up walking to the baseball field and watching the games. She worked in the projects of New Orleans for 22 years. She taught grade school, was a principal and also a chaplain for 35 years with 17 of those being at St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Louis.
After landing we head to Sacred Heart where the sisters there are eagerly awaiting her arrival. We are instructed to drive to the back of the building where we will be met. Sure enough we are greeted and welcomed by 3 of the Sisters. Sister Anastasia, Sister Juliana and Sister Caroline who helped when we transported Sister Hildegard.
She too is in her 80’s and is a little hard to keep up with. It was so great to see her. We enter the convent and she accompanies us onto the old cargo elevator. We push the button for the 3rd floor and as the door opens there was one of the sweetest greetings I have ever encountered.
Seated in their wheelchairs are 4 smiling faces with signs reading “we welcome you home.” Sister Agnette (103 years old), Sister Margaritis, Sister Bernadette, Sister Carolyn and Sally.
Each one of their faces radiating kindness and genuine excitement to have Sister MaryAnn home. These ladies are amazing and I could feel the love they have for one another.
We enter Sister MaryAnn’s room and place her into her bed. We are surrounded by well wishers all with tears of joy. Above her bed is a beautiful old black and white picture of her family complete with a frame and scripture. Her sister Carolyn came into her room and they just held hands and began chatting.
Once again I told Sister MaryAnn that we were going to pray prior to leaving. We were joined by all in the room as we all joined hands to pray. Before I could begin….. there she went again……yep, you guessed it………Sister MaryAnn “beat me to the prayer”. I teased her about it afterward but I guess she does have seniority over me and the last thing I would want to do is to steal her joy.
We said our goodbyes hugging everyone. Sister Caroline showed us their gorgeous chapel before we caught the elevator back to the 1st floor. She escorted us to the door and thanked us for bringing Sister MaryAnn home. Sister Anastasia escorted us down the ramp as we said our final goodbye. What a blessed reunion !!
I would like to share with you 2 of the verses above her bed.
FOR IT IS BY GRACE YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED, THROUGH FAITH
GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD, FOR HE IS GOOD; HIS LOVE ENDURES FOREVER.
Thank you to Hal and Jason for sharing this mission with me.
Shelli Engle RN