Franciscan of Christian Charity Sister Cecilia Joy Kugel writes from St. Paul Convent, Kaukauna, Wisconsin. She serves at St. Paul Elder Services, Inc.
Videographer becomes a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) … say whaaaaat? But that is exactly what happened, and all because of a pandemic. In the beginning of COVID-19, video projects came to a halt and my days became filled with entertaining residents in the manor at St. Paul’s. I would lead songs and other activities, but my eyes began to shift to what the CNA’s were doing. I admired the work they did and the time they were able to spend with the residents. Unlike me, who spent most of my day behind a computer up until that point. The residents were really touching my heart, and I truly felt God nudging me to a “call within a call.” It was a Mother Teresa moment. Putting my anxiety aside, I asked the administration if I could take a CNA course offered through St. Paul Elder Services and they said yes! I enrolled in the course offered from May-mid June and then had some training days on the floor before I could fly solo. All of this happened just in time for our first major outbreak in August. Thirty-eight residents and thirty-five staff were infected with the virus at St. Paul Home, and I was in the midst of it, praying to God, “please help me put on a brief right the first time.”
Since then, we have had another major outbreak, I have learned the ways of the N95 mask, and residents melt their way into my heart only to be taken to Heaven’s door. I am grateful that, as a novice, I was able to sit with our Sisters who were dying. This trained me to be comfortable with death and to view it as a new life with Jesus. I am grateful for the gift to be a CNA, while also working on media projects here and there. You never know where religious life is going to take you!