By Sr. Betty
Being a nun, I have found myself in various service opportunities. From inner city youth to recent immigrants to the US, with each opportunity I have served a unique group of diverse individuals. With everyone that I encounter, I have been known to be realistic about situations with anything and anyone. Most recently, however, I became particularly aware and sensitive to a specific group of individuals when I encountered three clients who are blind within a week.
The first case I encountered was a man named Joe*. He is middle-aged and has been blind since birth. He came to the office seeking assistance because he desired to go back to school where he would be occupied during the day. After some phone calls and transfers, we managed to schedule Joe for an interview at The Chicago Lighthouse- a social service organization serving the blind, visually impaired, disabled and veteran communities. They are also an organization that would provide people, like Joe, a full schedule during the week. On his interview day, I arrived early to his home and accompanied Joe to The Chicago Lighthouse. As we toured the building, Joe pokes my arm and tells me that he plays the piano and wishes to join the organization’s band. I told him that if any concerts or recitals were to happen, I would await an invitation to come see him play. He was so happy. By the end of the day, it was great to see that Joe would get involved and enjoy the activities at The Chicago Lighthouse.
The second client I saw that week was Jane*. She disclosed that she was a victim of an act of violence. The incident left Jane with lasting injuries and caused her to become blind. As her compañera, I assisted her in attending her appointments at the Lawndale Clinic and The Chicago Lighthouse. Through our time together, we found that we had a lot in common. One of our favorite foods to bake is cornbread. We ended our session exchanging recipes and making plans to later bring one another cornbread to taste.
Sue* was the third client that week that I walked with. She is a long time client who was diagnosed legally blind. I also accompanied Sue to The Chicago Lighthouse seeking assistance- but not the full scheduled program as Joe was doing. Once we were in communication with the organization, we sought their available services. For example, one of the resources we needed was a cane. Sue would benefit tremendously from a simple cane that one may think any person who is blind could easily access.
Working with three clients who are blind in one week made me particularly thoughtful to the unique needs and challenges that those who are blind face. I have been serving at Taller de Jose since September 2009 and been a nun for much longer. One thing I have etched in my mind is that God does not finish making us grow. God will continuously find ways to use us.
*Names and details have been altered in order to preserve client’s privacy