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May 22, 2012 | Lauren Rahe, CNPE

Ubi Caritas: Helping to Carry Another's Burden

At the end of 2011, Ubi Caritas, a clinic and social service agency of the Episcopal Church in Beaumont, celebrated with our patients. Local Episcopal congregations supplied gift baskets and it was a joy to see the children’s excitement as they unwrapped new books, toys and clothes. Each basket also had gift cards to local stores and restaurants. The joy and gratitude from our patients was overwhelming.

I spoke to many people that day and one patient’s story particularly reminded me of what our mission at Ubi Caritas really means. Susan (not her real name) has a special needs child with cerebral palsy. She shoulders the huge burden of caring of her son alone. Her husband left because he could not handle the selfless and tiresome job of taking care of a handicapped child.

Susan spoke of the countless hours she spends taking care of her son’s needs. She had to quit her job and put aside every aspect of her life that gave her a sense of personal identity. But she said that her day always gets brighter when either she or her son has an appointment at Ubi.  She said that at Ubi she does not carry the burden of her problems alone. She knows we truly care, that we listen and pray with her about her troubles, and it feels as if we are helping to carry her burdens. Susan said that she gets medical healing, as well as spiritual healing to help make it through another day.

Her story is not unique. A couple who lost their 16-year-old grandson in a fluke accident on the football field echoed Susan’s feelings about Ubi. Their grandson was the only link they had left to their daughter who had died giving birth to him and they had raised him since he was two years old. They both said that in their darkest moments of grief it was the daily phone calls from the staff members at Ubi Caritas that helped them feel they were not alone. When they come to the clinic now, they said it was like sitting in the sunshine for a little while.

Galatians 6:2 speaks to this Christian ethos at Ubi: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”  This scripture reflects our desire to help our patients carry their burdens, but also how our volunteers and donors help us carry our burdens. Our ministry to others would not survive without their grace and their generosity. Our clinic is blessed to have the opportunity to help our patients carry their burdens, for it is how we carry out our mission, and fulfill the law of Christ.

Rahe is medical office manager at Ubi Caritas Health Ministries in Beaumont.