OME TIME AGO, I had the privilege of sharing
the final weeks of Helen’s journey from this life into death. Her
beautiful spirit of acceptance, her continued involvement in life
and her deep faith in God who loved her and held her in the palm
of His hand inspired me and touched me deeply.
Helen had been battling brain cancer, which affected her eyesight,
for two years. One day, she shared a story with me about a gift
from Godan insightthat changed her life. She recalled
a day when she was feeling particularly discouraged. “I can’t
see, I can’t read, I can’t do anything,” Helen
thought in despair. About this time, she closed her eyes. She had
a vision of her mother, long deceased, who reminded her very gently
and lovingly that she could always pray.
began to pray in earnest and a transformation occurred. She became
more involved with her children and grandchildren, and even began
to reach out to those who were confined to their homes in poor health.
Helen became genuinely interested in every person she met and she
loved each of them as a reflection of God’s love. Associates at
CHRISTUS St. Patrick’s Hospital were among her favorite people.
She understood their joys and sorrows and often, would minister
Helen had finally decided not to give in to her illness. She did
not deny its presence and the fact that it was an inconvenience,
but she moved beyond her own problems when she decided to reach
out and love others.
Although Helen began to weaken as the end of her life drew near,
an aura of peace surrounded her. One evening as I sat with her and
prayed with her family, we noticed that she seemed to fix her gaze
on one area of the room. When her daughter asked what she was looking
at, she didn’t seem to hear her. We prayed the rosary and
as we came to the end, Helen said, “Mom’s here for me
but where are the others?” in a clear voice. Shortly after,
she lapsed into a coma. When her daughter left the room for a few
minutes around midnight, Helen went to join her mother in glory.
Sister Sheila Ann O’Beirne, CCVI
CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital
Lake Charles, Louisiana