NCE A WEEK I look forward to a visit with my special
friend, Sister Blandine Murphy, who lives at the Incarnate Word
Retirement Center. The last three years we have had dinner together,
talked about old times and had good fun. I always enjoy being
her. As we stroll out into the garden, we reminisce about all the
years gone by. She makes me feel happy and gives me a sense of
her daughter, always giving me advice and encouragement. We have
discussed many issues, including my job, family and friends. Each
time I say “goodbye,” I ask her to keep me in her prayers,
to which she replies, “I have nothing else to do it
is my job.” Through the years, Sister would continue to
play a very important role in my life.
up on the west side of San Antonio as a young child was very dangerous.
When I was only eight years old, I experienced an incident that
changed my life. I was a tough little “gangster” who
carried my own knife, and I could get any weapon I wanted. My younger
sister and I kidnapped a young boy, tied him up and blindfolded
him and beat him. We split his head open with a large rock. I can
only recall the loud screams and blood flowing. This experience
left an indelible mark on my mind, which can never be erased.
What happened next was truly a miracle. Because
of this incident, I was placed at St. Peters- St. Josephs
Orphanage. I was taken from an unprotected environment to a loving
and caring one. It was here for the first time that I met the Sisters
of Charity of the Incarnate Word. Sister Blandine was supervisor
of the girl residents. I learned proper grooming, care of my clothes
and healthy eating habits. At this age, however, I was very rebellious
and mainly wondered when my family would return for me and take
me home. They never did. So, I adjusted to my new life.
After finishing ninth grade, I was fortunate to
be chosen with several other classmates by Sister Blandine to work
at (CHRISTUS) Santa Rosa Hospital. She thought I would do well in
the medical field. What an experience! To leave the orphanage, my
home, and go to the work place was traumatic. I worked the night
shift, which gave me the opportunity to relate to adults such as
doctors, nurses and other staff members. Sisters who were nurses
taught classes at the hospital. We learned nursing skills and the
values of life, as well as compassion, hope and how to comfort the
As I reached my eighteenth birthday, it was time
to say goodbye to the people I loved, and the only home I knew.
As I prepared to leave the orphanage, Sister Blandine helped me
pack. She gave me a “crash course” on life. Most important,
she said, was to go to church, pray always and to return to visit.
I cried so much because I did not want to leave her. Sisters
calm voice assured me that I would survive. With my suitcase under
my arm and the values of life in my heart, I was off to see the
world. Sister gave me the opportunity to begin my work life with
CHRISTUS Santa Rosa. I will always be grateful to her and to Santa
Rosa, and have lived the values I learned through life.
As I continue my visits with Sister Blandine, I
have noticed the bloom has faded from her cheeks; however, there
is still a mischievous smile in her Irish blue eyes. She still calls
me “Maggie.” I am glad I had the opportunity to let
her know how grateful I am for her and the impact she has made in
my life. I will continue my visits and embrace each moment with
her, as I should.
Five years ago, I returned to CHRISTUS Santa Rosa
after a long absence. During my orientation, I felt I had finally
found my way “home.”
CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health Care
San Antonio, Texas