The Spirituality of Curatio
The mission of Curatio’s Apostolate is to promote, support and sustain the “Gospel of life.”
Members of Curatio, the Apostolate for Catholic health care workers, sanctify health care by taking seriously their Baptismal call to holiness and the sacramental life of the Church. With great joy members make every effort to fully live this call to holiness in their vocation to care for the sick. In Lumen Gentium (section 42) we read, “All the faithful are invited to strive for holiness and perfection of their own proper state. Indeed they have an obligation to so strive.” Our proper state then, as health care professionals (and as our mission statement reads) is to strive “to act as leaven within the health care professions as we live in obedience to the Gospel message.” We sincerely believe we receive all the graces necessary to be faithful to this mission through Christ and His Mystical Body, the Catholic Church.
The Charter for Health Care Workers will be a model and a guide for our apostolate. The first paragraph reads; “The work of health care persons is a very valuable service to life, it expresses a profoundly human and Christian commitment, not only as a technical activity but also one of dedication and love of neighbor.” True love then, is to love and serve as Christ loves and serves. For us, as health care workers, it is to see Christ in our patients and co-workers.
The daily life of a Curatio member is nourished and framed in prayer. We say we “work in the midst of prayer.” As Christ promised “to never leave us orphans,” and as the source and summit of Christ’s love is derived from the Holy Eucharist, to attend daily Mass is the summit of prayer. So, we will try and attend daily Mass (if it is possible according to our state in life) and to join our personal needs especially to the needs of the patients we care for, as well as the needs of our family, friends and co-workers, with the sacrifice of Christ crucified; the Perfect offering of Christ to the Father. If attendance at Mass is not possible we will privately say a short prayer from our heart before beginning our shift, asking God to unite us spiritually to Christ, to bless our prayers for our patients, to unite our daily actions with His and for the grace to witness to others Christ’s “unceasing prayer” in our actions. In sum, we ask continually for the grace of healing that comes only from His Heart, “Curatio Ex Corde Christi.” Thus the purpose of a Curatio member’s daily prayer is to strive with a common effort for holiness fostering a more perfect “living” of the Gospel of life within the vocation of health care. The fruit of this prayer will be the basis for the apostolate and only with “unceasing prayer” will Curatio members be formed to Christ and become instruments of His healing love, thus able to meet the demands necessary in today’s modern health care.
As our Baptism makes us members of the Body of Christ and “member’s one of another,” Confirmation strengthens our life in Christ, and the Eucharist nourishes us on our journey. (CC1267) We will also try and spend time with our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament of His Real Presence, (again depending on our state in life and as time allows,) asking in prayer for the grace to grant us His charity so we will be truly present to others, that we will abide in Christ’s love and be able to love as Christ Himself loves, especially the patients we care for. As Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta reminds us, at the end of our life Jesus will not ask us, “What great things did we do for Him?” But rather He will ask, “How much love did we put into caring for our brother and sister in need?”
Naturally we will have a devotion to Christ’s mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, asking for her son’s intercession as we meditate on the life of Christ, especially reflecting on those mysteries of the Rosary that help to deepen and humanize our love and work for the sick; in the Joyful Mysteries, the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, in the Incarnation the mystery of God sharing in our humanity; in the Sorrowful mysteries, His Passion and Death and in the Glorious Mystery, His Resurrection.
The Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes which is the World Day of the Sick (Feb.11), the Feast Day of St. Gianna (April 28th) and the Sacred Heart of Jesus (the third Friday after Pentecost) will be special days of celebration, Mass and fellowship. On other occasions Curatio members will come together for Mass and friendship and annually a retreat will be offered. We also provide time for our professional and educational needs which restore us in mind, body and spirit all of which contribute to our attempt to be excellent and competent health care workers. Scriptural reading and meditating on the life of Christ, the Divine Physician, and reading the lives of saints, known for their work with the sick are encouraged. Numerous church documents guide those who care for the sick and suffering. Among recent key Vatican II documents that exemplify Curatio’s apostolate are the following:
- Apostolicam Actuositatem; the Decree of the Apostolate of the Laity
- The Charter for Health care Workers “ 1995
- Salvifici Doloris; on the Christian meaning of human suffering”: An Apostolic letter of John Paul II
- Veritatis Splendor; The Splendor of Truth,” an Encyclical letter of John Paul II
- Evangelium vitae”, The Gospel of Life, an Encyclical letter of John Paul II
As members of Curatio and of the Church militant we strive to defend the culture of life. We imitate as best we can, the saints in the Church Triumphant, looking to the apostle St. Luke, St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Camillus of Lellis, and numerous other saints but we will take as a special intercessor, St. Gianna Beratta, who as a doctor and mother of our own time gave bold witness to the culture of life as a “martyr of love for life” in Christ’s love for her.
As our patients face sickness and suffering and especially as they approach death we humbly comprehend that by caring for them we stand on holy ground. As health care workers we accompany them on their journey praying with them for courage and hope in Christ with St. Paul; “In my own flesh I fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of His Body, the Church” ( Col 1: 24).
Submitted in Christ’s Hope,
Feb 14. 2008
Dianne Johnson RN, Founder of Curatio
Every First Friday Curatio’s Chaplain Father Allan Paul Eilen offers Mass for the intentions and for the mission of Curatio. If you have any prayer request email [email protected] and Father will include those intentions. We have Curatio members who offer a Holy Hour one day a week for Curatio- they also will include your prayer intentions.