Finding strength in the Eucharist during CPE

Finding strength in the Eucharist during CPE

“Con có cầu nguyện chưa” (Have you prayed yet?) and “Con nhớ cầu nguyện” (Remember to pray!)” were words which I often heard from my dad when I was growing up. The phrases continue to echo through my head, but no more so than they did during this past summer in the midst of my CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) experience.

Santa Rosa’s stated mission is to “Extend the Healing Ministry of Jesus Christ.” I came to see how similar this mission is to that of Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology’s vision: “To conform our world to the Heart of Christ.” Both the mission and vision speak to me as an SCJ, a Dehonian, who has chosen to live a life available with an open heart and an open mind to be a prophet of love and servant of reconciliation. [SCJ Mission Statement]

Each day I met with patients and their families; I attempted to provide both emotional and spiritual support. Every day when I knocked on a door, I wasn’t sure what I would find on the other side. Would it be a patient or family member who welcomed my presence, or would there be rejection, and perhaps even anger? 

About halfway through CPE, I found that I had become distant mentally and socially, but also physically. I had trouble processing things. Burnout. It seemed that there was no way out. I felt the workload increasing; I had more patients to see. I didn’t feel like I had the opportunity to really reach out to anyone. And the list continued to get longer and longer. I started to isolate myself; others said that I was becoming withdrawn. 

But eventually, I found my way through the Eucharist. It anchored me. It gave me strength. I thought of my father’s words: “Remember to pray!”

Click here to read Fra. Henry’s full reflection on the US Province website.

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