The care and comfort provided by others can be difficult to accept at times. St. Francis de Sales once found himself in need of medical attention from the Visitation Sisters. Yet he refused their help so they could focus on others, choosing instead to visit them later when he was well.
The selfless care shown by the Visitation Sisters reflects how nursing often provides physical and spiritual nourishment. Like diligent nurses, priests feed our souls through preaching the word of God. They cleanse us in the waters of baptism and tend to us in sickness, sin and death.
In our chat below, we have reflected on the vital role of priests in shepherding us through life's journey. We'll consider how to support them through our prayers and respect. And we'll contemplate the meaning of true freedom found in serving God and others.
Please join me in exploring these ideas further. I hope our discussion will lead us closer to the eternal liberty we one day hope to enjoy in heaven.
If you would like to chat with Catholics like yourself, why not check out our Living Jesus Chat Room of the Visitation Sisters. Join us at 7:30 p.m. ET each Sunday! We read a passage of St. Francis de Sales and then gather great insights and sharing!
Question: Was St. Francis being imprudent in not accepting help from the sisters?
Visitation Sister: St Francis, I think, did not want personal attention to himself or to take away from the sisters’ focus on the poor.
Priscila: I thought that this question was a bit off…it seems from the text…St. Francis did visit the Sisters but at the Visitation.
Visitation Sister: Yes, he probably did not want them coming to himself that way.
Priscila: Too much consultation. Too much special attention.
Visitation Sister: Exactly.
Healing the Sick
Question: Think about the sisters visiting the poor sick throughout the town. How is this like Christ healing the sick during his days on earth?
Priscila: Well, it’s like the great commission when He was here, and he sent out the apostles two by two. It is having compassion and mercy and care for others.
Visitation Sister: And the sisters did go out 2-by-2.
Priscila: Without cost you have received, without cost you are to give.
A Nurse for the Soul
Question: How is nursing analogous to the work a priest does for our souls?
Priscila: Nursing heals the body but also calms the soul by healing the body.
Visitation Sister: It is an interesting thought, a priest as nurse for souls. Or a doctor, but there’s a difference.
Rebecca: God heals the whole person. Priests and nurses help.
Priscila: I think nurses can heal a soul too…but by reassurance.
Visitation Sister: Like that thought.
Priscila: Nurses and doctors more physical/social/psycho causes and treatment. Priest …. spiritual/soul/psycho healing.
Visitation Sister: The Sisters I am sure meant to touch the souls too, in their nursing, maybe went with special devotions to pray.
Priscila: Yep…I bet the nursing sisters were great…body and soul.
Rebecca: When I had my lung surgery, there were nursing Sisters of Mercy there and one of them used to make me laugh so much that it hurt, and I had to hold my side.
Priscila: Laughter is supposed to be the best medicine. Probably trying to keep you at ease.
Call a Man Father
Question: We still use the title “Father” for priests today, but have we lost touch with the deeper meaning? Do we see our bishops this way?
Priscila: Yep…we need the show “Father knows best” on again.
Visitation Sister: Depends on the Bishop. I see priests as Father for the most part.
Priscila: I think Dad’s need to go back to the use of Father as well…maybe? more respect.
Visitation Sister: Good point.
Visitation Sister: A Father is one who gives life so that can be the deeper meaning of a priest giving us Christ’s Life, in Holy Communion as well. And Bishops give life to a whole Diocese, or should or could.
Rebecca: I wrote a Father's Day card to my oncologist. After all, he helped give me life.
Priscila: In the olden times…. everything went through the Father…. you got permission…for everything.
Rebecca: Some Christians take issue with our calling a priest “Father” because of the Scripture “Call no man ’Father’ you have one Father in heaven.”
Priscila: There is this organization called Seven Sisters and they pray for Priests.
Visitation Sister: Never heard of them.
Priscila: It’s a lay group and they pick a Priest in the Diocese to pray for.
Respect for the Office
Question: How can we better pray for and support our priests and bishops? Especially for their offices and what they represent.
Denise: This is an important question: how we can pray for Bishops and priests. We can pray for conversions, enlightenment, and for them to do God's will. I pray rosaries mostly.
Rebecca: I keep a picture of each of our local priests on my refrigerator door as a reminder to pray for them as often as I eat, at least.
Visitation Sister: Very good ideas.
Priscila: I pray for each Priest at Mass that he will be a perfect Priest on the altar and off of the altar.
Denise: Good prayer!
Priscila: If a Priest starts to falter at Mass in his words…I started repeating Jesus’ name over and over…and it helps him. We can pray that Priests and Bishops know and love what they hold when they consecrate Jesus.
Visitation Sister: We can support that which our Bishops propose, like the Eucharistic revival.
Denise: Abp Fulton Sheen just came to mind. We can also pray for him to be canonized. I think he already had one miracle?
Rebecca: We sometimes laugh or supply the word or phrase he is looking for. He is so humble that he never takes offense. I figure that it is because his thoughts are lingering with the words he has just spoken. But today it was a little more prominent at one point. Afterward he said he’d been distracted by the smell of the hamburgers cooking. We had a picnic.
Denise: Eucharistic Revival is good cause to pray for them.
Priscila: We can respect…how they say Mass…. some people don’t do that and start saying the St. Michael Prayer or singing the Salve Regina…and sometimes Father just has to get going. We have to be considerate. Priests are human too and they get distracted.
What is True Freedom?
Question: St. Francis calls heaven the “eternal liberty.” Discuss this. What exactly does it mean?
Priscila: Liberty…I assume this is referring to almost like military liberty…. go and do what you want and have a good time, within reason.
Rebecca: A Russian Orthodox friend was with us. I wonder if we’ll be able to talk about the experience more deeply when he comes Tuesday to help me prepare for getting better insulation.
Priscila: Maybe St. Francis means …worrying about appearances or how your actions may look to others.
Rebecca: Priscila, I think it is more like being clear in worshiping God together. Mass is a kind of foretaste of Heaven.
Visitation Sister: Beautiful phrase to end with I need to leave now. Have a blessed week!
If you enjoyed this chat, why not join us at our Living Jesus Chat Room of the Visitation Sisters. Join us at 7:30 p.m. ET each Sunday! We read a passage of St. Francis de Sales and then gather great insights and sharing!