The Privilege of Ministry
by Sr. Xavier Kozubal
Editor’s note: Sr. Xavier received a BA from Holy Family College (now Holy Family University) in 1966, an MA from Detroit University Mercy in 1968 and a PHD from the University of Maryland in 1975. She entered the CSFN community in 1960.
In 2013, I retired from my ministry as director of an inner city women center in Philadelphia. After 21 years of active ministry there, I prayed for a new direction in my life. I consulted with Sr. Clare Marie Butt, CSFN, and she suggested volunteering at Nazareth Hospital. Since I had a certificate in pastoral counseling, I asked to be part of the spiritual care department and was accepted. Sr. Eileen Therese Przybylowski, CSFN, has mentored me in this new endeavor.
I have the privilege of visiting patients, talking with them and giving them a blessing. Some of the patients I see are Catholics and some are not. Most accept a visit. Many share with me their experience of God and religion and many ask me to pray for them. Some are grieving the loss of loved ones and some are dealing with serious illnesses. Before beginning my day, I ask the Holy Spirit to guide me. Before I leave each patient, I ask Jesus to lay His healing hands upon them and bathe them in His healing love. I ask this blessing for myself as well. If I need to talk about my experiences, I can share them with Sr. Eileen Therese.
What keeps me motivated to continue in this ministry is Jesus’ words in Matthew 25: “Whatever you do for others, you do for me.” I know that when I visit someone in pain or grief I am not only comforting that person but Jesus as well. I feel grateful for this opportunity.
Another ministry I am engaged in is the ministry of the word, writing articles for the wellness column. [This column appears in “Family Forum,” a newsletter for CSFN sisters in the Holy Family Province].
When I studied pastoral counseling at Neumann University in the early 90s, I was exposed to a holistic model of wellness. I was trained to consider the whole person — body, mind, heart and spirit. And so I find inspiration for daily living in this model. Each part interacts with the others. Whatever we do to have a healthier spirit also affects our mind and emotions as well.
When I reflect on wellness, a topic surfaces in my mind and I research the topic on the Internet and ponder the material. I believe the Spirit comes to help me in this project. Many of the topics are things I need to consider in my own journey toward wellness and I hope others do the same. Each step we take toward physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness leads us closer to the wholeness we shall someday experience.
One day a week, I still continue to return to the inner city women’s center. This is also a Matthew 25 ministry. It is a day program where women can come and enjoy the support of other women. Some are homeless, some are drug addicted and some are prostitutes — all in need of love and support. There they find people who truly care about them. They can also take a shower, eat a meal, do laundry and attend a support group. It is good to be there.