Reach & Read: Cutting for Stone with bonus nun thoughts

Cutting for Stone: Abraham Varghese

On the bus the other day I saw a lady reading this book and I was nearly overcome by the urge to talk with her about it. Was she completely drawn in to the setting, the colors, the smells? Ponder what her life as a novel would read as? Feel thankful for modern medicine but perhaps have some concern that some art might be lost? Question if she will ever feel love or conviction for something as strong as Hema’s desire to raise the twins as her own? Pause to realize that this historical description of healthcare rivals some human’s current experience around the world? Wonder even just a little bit if Sister Mary Joseph Praise wasn’t actually part of Christian miracle (miracle to be defined by reader, not necessarily conception)? Due to excellent character development/portrayal, see the characters in real people around her?

Well, there you go. This is a fantastic book that will leave you wanting more and hoping for a movie, starring those people you see every day.

Bonus Nun Thoughts

PS – I also wondered what my nun name would be? Seeking the help of the internet, there are only a few nun name generators out there. Apparently, I would be Sister Eula Mary Smolderbox. Not all nuns change their names, depends on the religious order, but if they do, it often incorporates a significant saint. Smolderbox is not a saint. I didn’t have the pleasure to attend Catholic school with the Sisters, but know that if I had, I would probably have a whole blog category devoted to it. This isn’t to say that nuns haven’t entered my life.

  • Mother Theresa
  • Maria in Sound of Music [almost a nun]; every time I see curtains
  • Sister Mary Clarence in Sister Act [Whoopie Goldberg in witness protection]; tween memory
  • Sister Joy Duff

Who is Sister Joy Duff? She is a nun that I became acquainted with while on rotation at St. James Hospital in Butte, MT in the fall of 2003. I do not recall the specific instance that I helped her with a blood glucose machines and strips, but likely was a patient assistance program, given reference to the Community Health Center (another great rotation site I still think about and apply learnings from!). However, I have kept her kind note over the years. In re-reading it today, I can still see her kind face and smile at the thought that in her opinion I was possibly worthy of joining the Sister of Charity of Leavenworth. With that I did some searching to see where Sister Joy’s life has lead her. I had forgotten she was also a nurse by training and at the time I met her in 2003, in the role of chaplain/pastoral care for St. James, when I believe she was 70 years old (but I remember her seeming younger). It looks like she is continuing to serve via the SCLS but has since retired from St. James. Below is her profile.

Sister Joy Duff Joined the SCLs:  1969

What/who influenced you to become an SCL? 
I had wanted to become a Sister for a number of years but delayed because of objections from my family. I had worked in nursing for quite a few years and had worked previously at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif. I decided to go back and work there to get an idea about the Sisters. They were wonderful and warm and friendly, so I finally decided to enter the SCLs. Sisters Mary Eustelle and Mary Eunice were quite influential.

Ministries you’ve loved  
I graduated from nurse’s training in 1953, and I loved every minute of working in nursing. Then about 15 years ago, I took a clinical pastoral education course because I wanted to work with patients in a more spiritual way. I felt it was a wonderful combination, so I worked as a chaplain for 14 years at St. James Healthcare, Butte, Mont., before retiring. I loved being a Chaplain also—bringing spiritual comfort and encouragement to many patients.

Your hobbies, other interests: Oil painting

Thank you Sister Joy for being a key person in my memories of that early time in my pharmacy career and showing me through reflection how it connects in my current state and continues to shape my career – something big that I am tackling is growing a patient medication assistance program for my organization. This is definitely informed by my work at St. James and Community Health Center. Who knows where this will take me?

The Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth also have a pretty happening Facebook page as well, with waaaay more likes that I will have for quite some time (hint hint – go like odds & hens on Facebook and check them out too)

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