Wednesday 23 July 2014

A good death and good nuns

Some nuns rejoice at the unusual sighting of some positive publicity.

In preaching last week about the "Assisted Suicide" Bill going through Parliament, I lamented the fact that so little government money was spent on hospices, where people are enabled to make a "good" death. This happens now mostly in a secular setting, though linked to our traditional theological understanding of what that means - being prepared not just to leave this world but to enter the next.  Not surprising considering that so many Hospices were founded by Catholics and other Christians. Our own local Hospice (named after St Catherine of Sienna and opened on her feast day in 1981) was founded by a good Catholic lady from Preston with her parish priest as one of the founding trustees.  How much more truly good and human it is to help people live whatever remains of their lives to the very best of their ability, rather than spend money on helping them to commit suicide?

The Telegraph today carries an article on hospices written by Lord Howard that highlights the good work hospices do and, incidentally, praises the role of "gentle nuns" who gave great care in his father's last months alive.  So easy for the general public to forget all the positive things the Church (and Her nuns) do, in the climate of hatred so often whipped up against the Faith.
Lord Howard recalled the death of his father at the family home in South Wales. He said: "I was a fledgling barrister at the time. He [my father] was told he would die in six months time and that's indeed what happened. I was there at the end.  "Before he died he was looked after by an extraordinarily dedicated group of nuns, and the devotion and care which they lavished on him as always stayed with me. The word I would use is gentleness. Gentle, loving care."

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