When asked what makes her feel fully alive, Catherine refers to her own spiritual experience. More than twenty years ago, she was alone in her room, considering the meaning and purpose of life. “What is this all about?” she asked. As she quietly waited and listened, Catherine briefly experienced an inner light and love that filled her. Throughout the storms of life, this peace has continued to be her anchor. Does it come as a surprise to anyone that life does not always go as we expect or imagine? As a mother, Catherine has had to navigate difficult life choices that her young adult children have made. Currently, both are single parents. Catherine explains that for her, in the nitty gritty of daily living, God shows up. Even when situations aren’t as she imagined, her soul finds solace in her faith. As a nurse, Catherine treasures the opportunity to accompany young mothers through birth and their first few days with their newborn. She considers each child a gift and wishes them well on life’s unknown journey.
Catherine is a Labor and Delivery Nurse at St. Mark’s
St. Mark’s Hospital Chaplain Saundra Shanti wanted to connect patients to their caregivers and employees to each other. That’s why she created the Healing Hands portrait series, featuring black and white photographs and stories of St. Mark’s employees at all levels.
“Our patients and families who go in and out know that this is a nurse, and this is a housekeeper, but they don’t know them as people,” Saundra said. “I wanted to humanize our healthcare community to one another and to our families and patients.”
Each photo is accompanied by a story; some biographical, others are anecdotes of experiences that led employees to become caregivers and healthcare professionals. Twelve portraits are currently displayed throughout the hospital, but a total of 36 photos will be rotated throughout the exhibit for the next two months.
By highlighting personal, inspiring and real stories about the staff who will be caring for patients during what can often be an emotional time, the exhibit builds a sense of community. Patients and families will be able to view caregivers as real people with real stories whom they can relate to and connect with, making the hospital experience more personal.
“When we humanize each other, we care more for one another,” Saundra said. “I wanted our employees to be recognized as valuable human beings apart from their professional titles. I wanted to cultivate interaction and respect across our departments and services.”