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cm 03 bPope Francis speaking to the communicators said: "The encounter between communication and mercy will be fruitful to the degree that it generates a closeness which cares, comforts, heals, accompanies and celebrates”.
With this understanding I try to give my contribution to live the prophecy of dialogue and healing in the hospital of Assisi, which is a small hospital one that responds to some immediate needs of the territory.

Standing  by the patient, listening to him, being close to him while he waits for a medical report, or supporting him in bearing a delicate situation are works of mercy: they are not made of words but rather of concrete gestures, to express closeness and care. For example, I will never walk away from a patient without having at least caressed his hand or arm. When I get close to those who are about to die and aren’t able to talk, I make the sign of the cross on their foreheads and quietly pray for them, for their journey toward  death to be peaceful and without pain.

cm 02The dialysis ward is perhaps the most critical: there is a serene and peaceful atmosphere between nurses and patients, but the dialogue with the patient is always a mystery. What to say to a dialysis patient who spends 4 hours 3 or 4 times a week in the hospital but if you ask him how he feels, he always answers to you: "Good!"? Many of them have learned to live with a chronic disease, with resignation, perhaps they manage to keep “a certain quality of life”, although they depend on a machine.

cm 04One day I approach a young woman, whom I am seeing for the first time, her face is marked, tense and even with the hoses attached to her arm, she is rummaging her purse looking for her phone. I greet her and ask: "How are you?" She replies: "How should I be? If I’m here it means I’m not good! "Instinctively, I would go leave to not disturb her, or perhaps to not be affected by her bad mood. Instead I stop, I look into her eyes and slowly she starts telling me about her illness, which proved to be extremely serious and resulted in a chronic renal failure. I  listen to her deeply and she tells me of her young son, whom, because of her repeated hospitalizations, she sees too little. I understand that beyond words, which are often inadequate, what matter are the closeness, the listening, and the proximity which gives comfort.

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I often listen to children  who with great fidelity and extreme dedication remain beside their dying parents, struggling internally between the pain of separation and the desire to do everything possible to keep them alive. Marco, for example, stops me often to ask for prayers for his mother to survive, "Only she defended me when I had serious problems in life."

Then one afternoon I find him, as always, next to his mother's bed and he tells me: "I got it, I cannot let her suffer more than she has. I have to be ready to let her go. The Lord will help me. " We pray together and he finds a little healing, the and peace.

There were also experiences of failed dialogue, for example one with an elderly lady who threw me out and refused to show up to talk to me. Then the dialogue is also silent, the presence discreet, and there is respect for the timing and the ways of the other person…

But there is also Ms. Adriana who looks forward to my arrival to receive the Eucharist, or Renato who keeps me for a long time to speak of saints and shrines ... and so on with so many other situations ... to recognize and love the Lord in the poor, in the sick, and in the troubled, as Mother Frances did.

Sr. Carla Casadei

Published: July 7, 2016