DEAR CATHOLIC NURSES,
"...in all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thes 5:18 NABRE, that is 1 Thessalonians chapter 5, verse 18 of the New American Bible Revised Edition)
You are suffering much in the current situation. You are like the Pilgrims who bravely sailed to the New World, only to be greeted with dangers and difficulties.
You worked hard and sacrificed to become nurses. Now, you are facing challenges, fatigue, and stress. And, as He did for the Pilgrims, God has gone before you to make the way for you to persevere.
On second thought, you are less like the Pilgrims than you are similar to the helper that God sent to the Pilgrims in their distress. You are like Squanto* who came to the Pilgrims, met their needs, saved their lives.
According to historians, years before the Pilgrims sailed toward Cape Cod, a native youth called Squanto was kidnapped and taken to Spain to be sold as a slave. Instead of being purchased to be a slave, Franciscan monks, in accord with Church teaching that slavery is sinful,** collected enough money to buy Squanto and his fellow captives to make them free men.
The monks took them to their monastery, “nursed” them to health, taught them Spanish and the Catholic Faith. Squanto was baptized Catholic. Later, to find a ship home, Squanto made his way to England and worked as a shipbuilder where he became fluent in English. Eventually, he made it back to his people in the New World only to find his village decimated by smallpox, all inhabitants dead. Squanto went to live with a neighboring tribe, holding to the Faith he learned from the monks.
When Squanto heard Pilgrims were settling at the sight of his childhood village, he knew the situation was grim and they soon would be dead from starvation. He could have chosen to stay away. Instead, he went to them, cared for them. He taught them foods to be grown, to be found, to trap, and how to survive. He became an integral part of the Plymouth Colony. He did not relinquish his Catholic Faith despite being surrounded by the Pilgrims who had separated from the Church of England because it was too Catholic.
Squanto was instrumental in the first Thanksgiving gathering giving thanks to God for that first harvest. He met the Pilgrims in their need, and then he chose to lay his life down filling those needs.
You, nurses, are meeting people in their needs and pouring your life out for them. This is pleasing to God. This is part of establishing God’s kingdom on earth, His kingdom of love. God prepared Squanto years before he intervened to save the Pilgrims, to serve God by serving persons in need.
How has God been preparing you to do what you are now doing? He has gone before you to prepare you. He has worked in other people’s lives to come alongside you and help you to serve. Who are they? Thank them. Thank God.
Psalm 100:4 says, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to Him, bless His name!” Verse 5 says, “For the Lord is good; his mercy endures forever, and his faithfulness to all Generations”.
We are thanking God for each of you. Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!
In Jesus' Holy Name, Your President, Ellen Gianoli, RN
* Squanto’s formal name was Tisquantom, which means “Wrath of God”.
** See Sublimis Deus, the 1537 Papal bull, the formal decree of Pope Paul III denouncing slavery.