As a parish priest, I frequently made the rounds in hospitals. I haven’t had the occasion here at St. Joseph’s Indian School to do that very often, but today I did.
Fifth grader Kendra went to the health center complaining of a bad stomachache. A few hours later, she was in surgery to remove her appendix. Her mom was with her when I got to the room. Kendra had just woken up from the anesthesia and was enjoying a popsicle. We prayed and I let her know we had a whole bunch of Lakota students back at school asking how she was doing and keeping her in their prayers as well. I didn’t stay very long, since what most patients need is rest and recovery time. Hopefully, she will be back running the playground in short order.
In the halls of the hospital, I ran into a family I knew from Fort Thompson, South Dakota, which is about 25 miles from Chamberlain. The two daughters asked me to stop in and visit their aging mother, who had a host of health problems. We chatted for a while and then prayed.
Next, I ran into a man from the Crow Creek Indian Reservation whom I didn’t know, but he saw the collar and asked for prayers for his family as well. A listening ear and a brief prayer can comfort and help heal. Ultimately, though, we place our loved ones in God’s hands.