How long have you worked at Children’s? I started at Children’s in 1996 as a chaplain resident through Abbott Northwestern Hospital. I came from Boston for a short-term residency program, but I have now been here for 17 years! I have been assigned to the NICU and ICC the whole 17 years. I spent four years in cancer and blood disorders and various other units, but I am currently assigned to NICU, ICC and the Eating Disorders inpatient unit.
What drew you to chaplaincy? At my liberal arts college in Maine, I was studying religion and Spanish. One summer, I was interpreting Spanish at Massachusetts General Hospital. As the patients and I made small talk, they asked what I was studying. When I said religion, the patients would talk about their faith, either that their faith was the one thing carrying them through their hospitalization or else that they were struggling with their faith amidst their suffering. I was drawn to listening to and supporting people as they explored their faith during difficult times. My pastor mom was the person who suggested hospital chaplaincy. It has been a perfect fit.
What do you love most about your job? I love having REAL conversations with people. Sometimes these conversations are painful for patients and families, and sometimes they are joyful. It is important to me to support people during difficult times, be with them in the struggle as well as help them feel some hope and/or peace. Also, I love that I am able to work with people from many different faith backgrounds, whether they are “religious” or “spiritual,” both or unsure where they stand! I appreciate the diverse cultures that we work with at Children’s and that I still get to speak Spanish! I could not be more grateful for the other chaplains, Dee, Hal, Sherry, Brian and all of the on-call chaplains. We have an amazing group in the chaplaincy department! We give each other good support, and we have a lot of fun.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? When I was a kid, I wanted to be a dog trainer, an actress or a singer! I still don’t have a dog, but I do coordinate the Children’s staff choir. We sing at various Children’s events and services. Let me know if you want to join us!
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? My husband and I enjoy low budget backpacking for travel. I lived in Guatemala, and my husband and I took a year off to backpack three months in New Zealand/Australia, seven months in Asia and two months in southern Africa! Now that we have three kids, we go mostly to New England to visit my family. I would love to go to the Galapagos Islands, Machu Picchu, and other parts of South America or simply see more of Europe. In an instant, I would return to my favorite places: Guatemala, Nepal, Laos, Swaziland or New Zealand!