Catholic Free Press

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  • May
  • 12

Caregivers talk about power of faith

Posted By May 12, 2017 | 8:09 pm | Lead Story #3
Dr. Waldemar Szypulski
Dr. Waldemar Szypulski

By Tanya Connor | The Catholic Free Press

“We believed that within several hours she would be passing.” Dr. Waldemar Szypulski was talking about Barbara Rudzik, one of his patients. “What is left?” asked the department chief and specialist of the Intensive Care Unit Mazurski Health Center in Elk, Poland. “Only prayer.” Prayer it was. That day, March 19, 2008, Miss Rudzik’s family began a novena for her to Blessed Stanislaus Papczynski, founder of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception. As the novena progressed, so did the condition of the comatose 20-year-old suffering respiratory and organ failure. On March 27, the last day of the novena, her breathing tube was removed and she breathed on her own. Soon she could talk and was transferred to a pulmonary floor. On April 30 she was discharged. She married Tomasz Sobolewski on June 21. They now have two sons. Her healing was the miracle that paved the way for St. Stanislaus’ canonization last year. With translation help, Dr. Szypulski shared this story at the 13th annual Divine Mercy Medicine, Bioethics and Spirituality Conference, held May 3 and 4 at the College of the Holy Cross. The Marians, who run the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, help organize the conference, which is sponsored by Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy. Father Kazimierz Chwalek, Marian Provincial Superior, who is stationed in Stockbridge, said St. Stanislaus’ love was for “the Immaculate Mother” and God wants everyone to be holy and immaculate. “St. Stanislaus is my go-to saint,” said Marie Romagnano, founder of Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy, promising conference participants a relic of him. She is a member of St. Roch Parish in Oxford and a catastrophic injury registered nurse for her company, Med-Link Inc. Dr. Szypulski, conference keynote speaker, said this was the second miracle attributed to St. Stanislaus in the same hospital and parish. “We are asking St. Stanislaus, ‘What do you see in our city?’” he said. “We believe that he will … be assisting us for many, many more years.” Dr. Szypulski said many doctors tried to rationalize the miracle – until they analyzed the tests. “We knew that this was not possible,” he said. Now he prays for patients from the start and is in closer contact with their families, he said. “My relationship with the Lord has intensified on every level,” he added. Other speakers also talked about Jesus and bringing him to others. WHY SUFFERING? Speaking on the panel led by Bishop McManus, Ms. Romagnano responded to a question why God allows suffering. She responds, “The ‘why’ stage is over; what God has allowed is for our benefit.” She said people need to put their faith in God and the Blessed Mother. “We are Jesus in the flesh for that patient,” she said of healthcare professionals. “We are actually suffering with that patient.” Responding to a question about how to follow one’s conscience without losing one’s job, Bishop McManus said the Conscience Protection Act in congress now will be very helpful. Given the anti-Catholic bias in the United States, Catholics must form alliances with evangelical Protestants and Orthodox Christians and Jews, he said. SMILE COULD PREVENT SUICIDE Marian Father Chris Alar, director of the Association of Marian Helpers, told listeners that in their profession even a smile can make a difference. He asked why people spend money on pain relief, but little time encouraging the hurting to talk. In his talk about suicide, he told of a person who jumped from the Golden Gate bridge. The person left a note promising not to if even one person smiled at him on the way to the bridge. Throughout the world, 2,000 individuals per day take their lives, Father Alar said. The elderly have the highest rate of suicide and doctors have the highest rate among professionals. Most suicides are tied to clinical depression, he said. Only about half of the people with clinical depression receive treatment, but the success rate with therapy or medical treatment is 80-90 percent, he said. He said treatment should include spiritual direction, social support and psychotherapy. Theologians once considered suicide a mortal sin for which one did not have the chance to repent, and those who committed it were denied a Catholic burial, Father Alar said. Now the Church looks upon suicide victims with pity, not condemnation, and offers Mass for them and God’s healing for their loved ones, he said. Suicide is objectively grave, he said, but sufficient knowledge and free will would also have to be present for a soul to be lost. Father Alar said Jesus told St. Faustina Kowalska he comes to a soul three times at the moment of death. (The Divine Mercy image and devotions come from visions of Jesus that St. Faustina received and wrote about in her “Diary.”) Father Alar told about a priest asking him to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet for his grandmother’s salvation – 10 years after her suicide. “God is so merciful he will take your prayer in 2003 and take it back to 1993,” the priest told him. The priest said his prayers could help lift the veil his grandmother put up by her sins, and help her say yes to Jesus when he came at the moment of her death. Shocked and delighted, Father Alar decided to spend his life spreading this message. LISTENING AS MERCY Bryan Thatcher, international director of Doctors for Divine Mercy and founder of Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy told about a patient dying as he was working on him. At the time, he didn’t think about praying or the state of the man’s soul. Last week he told the healthcare professionals they have the opportunity to help people prepare to see God. He said medicine is so fast-paced that healthcare professionals aren’t listening to patients, which he thinks explains the number of mistakes made. Listening is an act of mercy, he said. Sister Gaudia Skass of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, to which St. Faustina belonged, talked about ways listeners can find help and help others. She serves at the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C. “The Savior is with you; you don’t have to be the Savior,” she said. She suggested spiritual practices of silence, Scripture reading, exclamatory prayers such as “Jesus I trust in you,” changing one’s surroundings to remind one of God’s presence and including God in one’s daily activities, telling him things like, “We need to figure out these financial problems.”