By Susan Cedrone, LCSW
Kawempe Home Care….Moved by Love.
Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice…Moved by Love
This morning I got up to the wonderful article written by Sally Friedman in the Courier Post. I looked at the pictures and the story and I was filled with Love for my co-workers who shared the experience with me and for our co-workers at Kawempe Home Care. The patients and the children…oh the children. Truly the most beautiful people on the planet. So easy to Love.
Then I went to church this morning, Sunday morning. My church….Sacred Heart Church in Camden, New Jersey, located in the poorest city in the United States. The most violent, too! 67 murders in 2012. Over the years, 25 people have been murdered in the three block radius around the church. We visited those spots on Good Friday on our Via Crucis. Jesus murdered again and again!
The gospel lesson at all Catholic Churches this morning: Jesus’s new commandment: “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” I experienced that love yesterday at our monthly Food Sharing program. The poor women of our Sacred Heart neighborhood come for food at the end of the month. Poor women. Mostly African-American women. Caring for their own children and other people’s children in need of help. So many of them asked me about my trip to Uganda. So excited that I went to Africa. They told me that they prayed for me while I was gone. They wanted to see my pictures. I told them I would definitely invite them to a program about my experiences in Uganda. Again, moved by Love.
This morning, Fr. Michael Doyle, the Pastor of Sacred Heart, spoke about Love. How we all love “love” when it is easy, kind, friendly, warm, and gentle. But, he said: “That kind of love does not stretch us.” The love that stretches us beyond our selves is usually hard, difficult, unconditional, harsh and not easy. He quoted Fyodor Dostoyevsky who said: “Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams.”
I experienced both in Uganda. I experienced the love that stretches one’s own understanding of love, life, and what it means to care for one another in very harsh circumstances. How people there extend themselves to each other day and night. They are poor in possessions but rich in love and a sense of community. Yet, I experienced the comforting love as well.
Every morning since I have been back, I put on my Uganda bracelet, purple band with the word, UGANDA, stitched on it. I then put on the bracelet of Mary, the Mother of God, given to me by one of the community volunteers, Maria Assumpta. I reached out to her because of her name. My grandmother’s name. My most favorite religious feast…the Assumption of Mary. We became quick friends. Greeting each other each morning. Riding together on the bus. Eating lunch and dinner together. She was always by my side. Her life not easy. Raising two of her own children and four others….all with HIV. Her care of her patients, we witnessed on our home visits. Her strength is incredible. Her sense of humor….hilarious! She loves me and I love her. I think of her every day. I am motivated by her every day.
Maria Assumpta moved by Love.
Susan Mary moved by Love.
Since we have been back, I have contacted the two Churches in Camden that blessed us before we left to ask them to have us back for a presentation about what we learned and what our goals are going forward. A presentation at Sacred Heart Church is scheduled for October 20, 2013…World Mission Sunday.
I am working with Antioch Baptist Church for a date that works for them.
All of us….moved by Love.
If you’re interested in learning about how you can get involved please contact Joanne Rosen at (856) 552-3254 or email African.Partnership@SamaritanHealthcareNJ.org.