Miracle Moments Miracle Moments Of Personal Growth

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 with 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 being 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.

Growing 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. Peter’s- St. Joseph’s 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 sick.

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. Sister’s 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.”

Margaret Flores
CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health Care
San Antonio, Texas