By Mary R. (Tarrant) Hodge
Regarding the article “A question of faith,” in The Telegram Aug. 10, to put it mildly I was very saddened and yet disgusted with the comments of one Terry Loder.
Even though I admire him for trying to be an advocate for the elderly patient in question, I feel that he went overboard in trying to put forth what he really wanted to say or do.
I have been associated with St. Clare’s and the Sisters of Mercy for much of my adult life. I am a former Sister of Mercy, a graduate of St. Clare’s School of Nursing, I was a staff nurse at St. Clare’s, I was a patient at St. Clare’s and, for 25 years, I worked at an interfaith home within the province.
I know all too well what St. Clare’s is all about and I know very well how interfaith homes work within our region. Religion is a way of life and we learn to respect each and every one of them. Clergy come and go, and you admire them for their commitment to their members, the patients.
Getting back to the topic, I recall how hard the Sisters of Mercy laboured to see that St. Clare’s had its humble beginnings as a hospital to provide the best possible care for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador when hospitals were very few and were badly needed. I recall the financial commitment that the Sisters of Mercy gave to the province in order to carry on their mission of caring for the sick of the province in the administration of quality nursing care to all who graced their doors, regardless of race, colour or creed.
I think of the many Sisters of Mercy who became mentors for the cause of St. Clare’s. I thank the doctors, nurses and staff (past and present) who made St. Clare’s their place of work through the years and who provided good care to their patients. Religion, to my mind, was never a problem.
I suggest that Mr. Loder, in his spare time, come aside and rest awhile and read the book entitled “The Mustard Seed: The Story of St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital” by Sister Kathrine E. Bellamy, and you will see how St. Clare’s came about.
Removing the statue of St. Clare, or the crucifixes, to allay an elderly person’s fear of being at St. Clare’s is not the answer, in my opinion. There are other ways. Where was this elderly person’s family in all of this? Were they aware that this person had such concerns? Couldn’t she be accommodated at the Heath Sciences Centre? A lot of undue stress could have been avoided for this person.
Where will it all end?
I wonder what is going to be on the agenda next. Will the RCMP members be asked to pass over their badges because people are getting upset?
A cross has been removed from a school of late. Religion is no longer taught in school and now this plea to remove “Roman Catholic symbols” from St. Clare’s — the very core of what St. Clare’s and the Sisters of Mercy’s mission is all about: care of the sick and the holistic approach to sick patients, which includes religious affiliations, whatever the creed.
What purpose will removing a statue or crucifix serve?
I say leave St. Clare’s as it is. Think about the thousands of people who have been blessed by St. Clare’s and its staff and the Sisters of Mercy. How many of them have been comforted by the sight of a statue, a crucifix, a rosary, when their health was in crisis. How many of them welcomed a clergyman in time of need, and were comforted, regardless of creed at St. Clare’s Hospital?
The motto of St. Clare’s School of Nursing was “Mercy above all.” Please be merciful and let the statue of St. Clare remain, for united we stand, divided we fall.
Mary R. (Tarrant) Hodge writes from Lord’s Cove.