BLOG: Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (May 31)

Posted on: May 1, 2018 9:00 am
Tags: Blog, Prayer,

by Theresa Bradley, SND Associate

The email was sent to the Homebound Ministry Members in July with an unusual request for daily Communion to be delivered to a parishioner named Lynn. In March, she had finally gone to the doctor after a year of pain and was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Lynn had just spent months in and out of Vanderbilt Medical Center where the doctors determined there were no further treatment options, so they sent her home with hospice care and two to three weeks to live.

I had never met Lynn nor her family but noticed her address was literally around the corner from my house.  She was not only a fellow parishioner, she was a neighbor. I chose a day that would work with my schedule and went to visit Lynn with the Eucharist. 

It was a very sad situation.  Her 16-year-old daughter sat weeping next to her bed with her arms stretched out across her mother. Apparently, her daughter and 18-year-old son had just been informed of their mother’s diagnosis. At only 57, Lynn was very weak and frail. She could not say much, but thanked me for bringing Communion and told me how much it meant to her. Before leaving I met her husband, son, and sister. The house was a mess and there was a lot happening, I couldn’t help but notice several statues of the Virgin Mary and religious items in the living room.

Like other members of the ministry, I continued to volunteer in response to the weekly request to take Communion to Lynn. With each visit, I learned more about her and her family. She shared her deep faith and love of Mother Mary. It was not unusual for my visits to last one to two hours.  Since she was not able to leave the house, visitors were important to her. Every time before I left, I would tell her, “Thank you for letting me bring Jesus to you.”

Many times the hospice nurse and I were there at the same time. Even though the hospice nurse was Baptist, Lynn and I would invite her to join us in prayer, holding hands during The Lord’s Prayer. The nurse later commented how she never witnessed a church community that had given so much love to a patient.

I watched Lynn experience weeks of highs where she appeared to be improving (one time we even folded laundry together because she said it needed to be done) and weeks of lows where it gave the impression death was very near.  She always prayed for a miracle, but also said that she would accept God’s will. Her faith was so strong!

On my final visit with Lynn, her body had once again become weak and frail. She would drift in and out of sleep as I said the Communion prayer. She knew death was near, but she was concerned for her husband and children. Lynn loved watching the birds and had a dozen bird feeders outside her bedroom window. I reminded her of Matthew’s scripture passage where our heavenly Father cares for the smallest of birds and certainly He will care for her family, too. She need not worry.

Lynn passed away the following week in January. Her doctors gave her two to three weeks and she lived over six months. In those six months, twelve members of our parish brought Communion to Lynn each and every day, only missing three days due to weather conditions. We also hosted two prayer vigils in Lynn’s backyard, provided numerous meals for the family, helped to clean the house and yard, decorated and undecorated the house, and shared many, many prayers.

Just as Mary brought Jesus to Elizabeth at the Visitation, I was fortunate to be able to bring Jesus to Lynn and witness God’s goodness and provident care in our parish community and neighborhood!             

Suggested links:

The Story of the Visitation

Feast of the Annunciation

Sisters are like onions by Sr. Nicole Varnerin


Date: on May 4, 2018

Sister, such a beautiful message of “Love one another”. The love of the parishioners shone through for this family.

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