congregation of the sisters of st joseph of peace
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"Chaplain Brings Healing and Peace" by Sister Breda Boyle, CSJP


Sister Breda Boyle is the Director of Pastoral Care at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, NJ. Breda began her ministry in health care as a nurse. After CPE training in 1991 Breda changed her role to chaplain, one she continues today. Breda believes Constitution 11 has guided her ministry experiences. Below she reflects on how her role as chaplain helps her respond to God's people in need.

We commit ourselves to promote peace...We strive to respect the dignity of all persons, to value the gifts of creation, and to confront oppressive situations. We respond to God's people in need and promote social justice as a way to peace.

Constitution 11

Patients who are ill are often very frightened and worried. If I can be a "peace filled" presence to them, I believe I am living out our CSJP Charism. Prayer strengthens me. Calls - codes - deaths, even when expected, are still a shock. I must respond as a "peace filled" presence to all.

Most patients are anxious, concerned, fearful. Many are facing tests, procedures, surgeries, and unknown outcomes. Many are facing death. I may only encounter the patient once or twice so I pray my presence brings an atmosphere of peace and calm. I often suggest to the patients that they imagine God's arms wrapped around them. Many have told me afterwards it was a comforting thought,

Healing takes many forms - physical, emotional, spiritual - many relationships, I often suggest patients concentrate on breathing - inhale God's love and peace; exhale your fear and anxiety.

The Book of Isaiah contains one of my favorite scriptures to use with the patient and/or family.

"Be not afraid. I will never forget you. I have carved you on the palm of my hand."

It also reminds that I am not alone in what I do - God is with me - otherwise I could not do it. In some situations words are inadequate but presence often does bring peace.

"Life and prayer are intertwined, because the natural thing to do is to talk to God, to pray. Nothing is compartmentalized. "

Margaret Dove, CSJP