Wisdom Story #1: Honoring the Last Wish of a Young Boy


Ask a Catholic Benedictine Sister for her wisdom, and she’s likely to tell you a story. Why?  Because wisdom comes through listening and being. This is the 1st story in our Wisdom Series.

Sister Catherine Maloney says she gained more wisdom from a 7-year-old boy than she did from anyone else during her service as a hospital chaplain. She met David as he was losing his battle with cancer.

“David had the heart of all children,” Sr. Catherine says.

“He didn’t fear death. He was sorry to be leaving his parents, though. He drew a picture for me of the apples he wouldn’t be able to pick with his father.

“David helped me understand that my job was not to preach, but to honor and respect the wishes of every patient.

“He helped me understand that my job would often be to help patients on the road to heaven.

“He helped me understand that patients would be less agitated and more willing to let go of life if their wishes were honored.”

She says she learned that lesson during David’s First Communion.

“All of the kids in his second-grade class had made their First Communion,” Sr. Catherine says.

“I asked him if he wanted to make his, and he said he did. So we made all these adult decisions about it. We brought balloons and gifts and invited a lot of guests.

“When the day came, we went into David’s room and he said he didn’t want to do it after all.

“We were all stunned. I asked him privately, David, is there a better time or way to do this? And he said, Yes. I want my mommy to bake the bread.

“I went out and told his parents and the priest, and everyone agreed to do it. So we all came back the next day with his mother’s bread, and he made his First Communion.

“Thank God we did what he wanted. It made him so happy. He died a week later. I’ve used that lesson throughout my ministry.”

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