Miracle Moments Miracle Moments In Work Life

ROM THE BEGINNING, my life has been connected to CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Hospital. I was born at CHRISTUS Cabrini in 1968, and my sister, Rhonda, was born there three years later. My grandmother, Virginia Verzwyvelt, began working at Cabrini Hospital in 1958. I remember going to visit her there as a child. She reported to a Sister, and that image was my first memory of the hospital. I remember seeing the Sisters in their habits, speaking with Irish accents, and always smiling.

After graduating from Northwestern State University, my husband, Matt, and I decided to move to Alexandria. I was drawn to CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Hospital. In April 1992, I was hired in the Safety department. My grandmother retired that same month after 34 years of service. My family has always relied on CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini when they needed medical care. We have celebrated many new additions to our family at the hospital. Our own son, Hunter, was born there in 1998 and his birth made me realize that we have come full circle.

Beginning in 1997, my Cabrini family saw my family and me through extremely difficult times. In April of that year, my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. We immediately had major decisions to make, and needed a lot of prayerful support. In faith, we asked and received. I remember going to the hospital’s annual review meeting on a Monday morning in May 1997. It was the first day my mom was to undergo chemotherapy.

I walked into a room filled with about 100 Associates, knowing that I needed to tell them all about the hospital’s safety program and to do a good job, but my heart was not in it. Denise Laborde was in charge of the program and knew of my personal situation. Before I began my presentation, Denise asked how I was doing and wanted to know if a prayer would help. When I said yes, she asked the entire group to pray for my mom and family. Perhaps Denise and the group assembled there that day didn’t believe they had done very much, but their prayer meant the world to me. Later that day, I called to check on my mom and told her what had happened at the meeting. She said, “I felt that prayer, just as I was beginning treatment, and a calm came over me. I knew everything was going to be all right.”

Indeed, my mom was all right. She has not had a recurrence of ovarian cancer since her diagnosis in 1997. I wish the story ended there, but in August of 1999, my mom had lymph nodes removed, and they proved to be cancerous. She started chemotherapy and once again, I found myself seeking support for my family. At the time, Father Chris Nayak from the hospital’s Spiritual Care Department had started a program of routing e-mails for Associates who requested prayers for themselves, their family members, or friends who were ill. The response was tremendous, and it meant a great deal to me.

Associates whom I had never met would stop me in the hallways and ask how my mom was doing. They would tell me that she was in their prayers. As a result, I felt a deeper connection with my co-workers. In February 2000, my mother had more lymph nodes removed. This time she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and had a mastectomy. During her chemotherapy treatments, the prayers and support shown to my family were again strongly sensed.

In 2002, Mom’s cancer continued to spread, affecting her liver and brain. She had radiation therapy at CHRISTUS Schumpert Hospital, but my CHRISTUS Cabrini family continued to show their support. So many of our prayers continue to be answered as we keep on fighting the cancer. Today, we still pray, and our hearts remain filled with hope. Just knowing that I can always count on my CHRISTUS Cabrini family to provide excellent care for my mother, as well as tremendous spiritual support, is a gift beyond measure.

Mary Tarver
safety coordinator
CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Hospital
Alexandria, Louisiana