Friday, August 28, 2009

Our Lady Brings the Rain

Drs Melanie and Roy Elfrink served this summer with four of their six children at St. Martin de Porres Hospital in the diocese of Kabale, Uganda. Melanie wrote about the start of the rainy season, and the link to the Feast of The Assumption, which is a National Holiday in Uganda...

Melanie writes:
One of the highlights was seeing the rainy season start. Everyone kept saying that it was going to rain on the 15th, the Assumption. It's a national holiday, and the people say "Our Lady brings the rain on her feast day". Since that was Saturday and we'd had no rain for some time we decided to see. Skeptically, like the Americans we are. Wednesday: a few clouds, no rain. Thursday: a few clouds and a clap of thunder, no rain. Friday: a few clouds, two claps of thunder, and a teeny sprinkle that barely counted as rain. Friday night: downpour. Saturday: downpour. Sunday: downpour. Repeat that last part every day since the Assumption. Father John told us at mass, "Our Lady brings the rain every year on the Assumption to show the people of Uganda that she has a special love for them because we have a special love for her."

It felt like Easter, because after months of that red dust coating everything, including your body/eyes/even teeth if you walked very far, Saturday of the Assumption the air smelled clean, the plants were all clean, and the people were so happy they were giddy with relief and gratitude. Mass was filled with beautiful music, special dancing, people pledging themselves to Mary.

May the changing of the seasons be an opportunity for us too, to recognize our dependence and to celebrate, with gratitude, the example of the lady who said yes to God!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Honeymooning at Karoli Lwanga Hospital

Mark and Sheila Bisanzo were married on June 12, 2009 (My husband Tom and I were married that same day 33 years earlier!) Unlike many newlyweds, they didn't set up their home near work or family. They are beginning their lives together serving as members of Mission Doctors Association at Karoli Lwanga hospital in rural Nyakibale, Uganda. The reflected on how, beginning their married life in the missions has given them cause to reflect on the challenges and blessings.

As we continue on this journey of acclimatization and discovery, we appreciate the significance of ritual in our daily life together, especially because we are beginning our marriage in Uganda. We are creating a rhythm of daily rituals in our new home and surroundings while we accept the lack of running water and current drought.

We celebrate the threads of joy and gratitude woven throughout our experience, such as an enthusiastic "Agandi!" (“Hello, how are you?”) and smile by a child along the road, or watching the soulful sway of parishioners dancing and singing to the drum beat at mass. A common greeting which our colleagues and neighbors extend to us says it best, "You are so welcome." The Ugandans whom we have encountered and whom we will work and live alongside have
made us feel wholly welcome, as they express warm appreciation for our coming to work at the hospital. We only hope that we can share some humble offering in return as we continue our work as part of the Nyakibale community.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I Stand on my Soapbox for the Feast of St. Luke

Did you know that St. Luke is the patron saint of doctors?

As a member of the Los Angeles Archdiocese White Mass committee, I know it is my responsibility to promote this special event. And really, what better venue to do so, than my very own online soapbox?

A White Mass is traditionally celebrated for all physicians and medical personnel on the Feast of St. Luke. This institution follows the centuries old customary Red Mass, recognizing the service of Catholic judges, prosecutors, attorneys, law school professors, students, and government officials.

It was coined the “White Mass” not because of the liturgical color, but because medical personnel typically wore white rather than the more common of the greens and blues today.

The theme, “Celebrating Health; Blessing Healers”, reflects the spirit of this event. Los Angeles Archdiocese and Mission Doctors Association have come together to celebrate the service and recognize the challenges and blessings Catholics in who serve in health care face today.

Local Catholic doctors are encouraged to take part in this event, October 18, 2009, as an opportunity to come together seeking God’s blessing on their work. To learn more about the upcoming event visit the White Mass website.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Guess what I want to do with my life?

As children we may dream of our place in the 'grown up' world and this may include a job, place to live when we “grow up”, for others the ideal position may be a connection of what others recognize in us, and what is already written on our hearts.

For Terese Bauer, her dream job, came in the voice of friend during her undergraduate study at theUniversity of Wisconsin who insisted that “You should really become a doctor...”.

On her way home for Easter she contemplated how she could use her skills as a physician working in the mission field. When she arrived home,she asked her parents to guess what she wanted to do with her life…admittedly a common question throughout the year. Her mom guessed a several different scenarios, and when each was met with a 'No' she asked Terese to just tell them. Stubbornly, she said, “No you have to guess.”

Her dad looked her straight in the eyes and said, “You want to be a missionary doctor." She knew that the Holy Spirit worked through him to confirm her call.

Since that time, her energies have been focused on following the Lord on the path of this unexpected call to love Him and heal Him in the poor. Dr. Terese and her husband Dr. Paul Bauer are in Uganda this summer serving with Dr. Mark Bisanzo at Karoli Lwanga Hospital in Nyakibale. Here they offer direct patient care on the wards and provide teaching in pediatrics and adult medicine.

What is your dream job? What do you feel called to do?

To read the complete article, sharing the story of the Paul and Terese Bauer and their family, visit the Mission Doctors website and read the 2009 Annual Newsletter.