When Salvatorian Sister Jane Eschweiler retired from the Jordan Ministry Team serving the Diocese of Tucson, she wanted to adapt her pastoral ministry to a hospital setting. She knew her physical limitations wouldn’t allow her to walk hospital halls to visit with patients, but Sr. Jane felt God’s creative Spirit at work. She was asked to help in leading Eucharistic services carried to patients’ rooms via closed-circuit TV from a Tucson hospital chapel. For Sr. Jane, it’s golden, “blending ministry to the sick with my preaching fervor.” Plus, she says, “Since I’ve been a patient many times, I draw on what I’d want to hear spun off the Word of God.”
Hospital ministry is part of what Sr. Jane calls her “freelance ministry package.” She also provides spiritual direction for deacons-to-be and lay ministry candidates in the sprawling Diocese of Tucson. Sr. Jane is inspired by the generosity and openness prospective deacons and lay ministers bring to formation.
“In the course of formation, they face fears of inadequacy or doubt. I can help them sort out reasonable fear from the ‘OMG!’ that always comes with vocational choice. Another joy is helping them discover their growing spirituality. It’s freeing for them and satisfying for me.”
Sr. Jane’s prison ministry often has the same effect. Several times a month, she visits women at a county jail and men at a facility northwest of Tucson. Sr. Jane sees these places as fertile ground. “Incarcerated people are in a unique position of having time to think about what really matters in life, experience the consequences of their actions, and consciously plan what they want their future to be.” She says, “Many folks are changed in prison. They are transformed by grace, and I love being part of that mystery. It gives me hope.”
Our 2016 Christmas appeal will support all our sisters called to the sacred ministry of pastoral care. Whether comforting the sick, offering grief support, or visiting prisoners, our sisters are the face of Christ to people in need. Help us bring His blessing of hope, faith and love to others with your gift this Christmas.