Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 68(1) February 2018

Conference Reports

What follows are two reports by attendees of the CMA’s second annual youth conference which was entitled Catholics in Healthcare: Extraordinary Lives, Extraordinary Saints, and was held on Saturday 4th November 2017 at St Aloysius’ Catholic Church in Euston, London.

Conference Report 1

 This was the first CMA conference that I have attended and I really enjoyed the day. It was great to meet so many like-minded people, passionate about the Faith.

It was not just the talks themselves which inspired me, I also picked up so many golden nuggets of ways in which I can improve my work life as a Catholic. 

Mary Doogan said that she always said a prayer before walking through the main doors at work. Something I will now do myself! 

The talk on the history of nursing and how it is rooted in Catholicism made me feel very proud of what I do. I was particularly interested to learn about St Louise and the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, which I knew very little about. I know what my next read will be.

A comment from the audience during the Q&A session afterwards said that the word 'nursing' derives from the Greek word meaning 'to nurture'. This underlined exactly why I came in to Nursing. As modern day Nursing gets more and more bogged down in technology, I am reminded of the simple and most important aim of my vocation.  Thank you to the CMA for reigniting this in me.

-          By a young nurse


Conference Report 2

It was a real blessing to attend the recent CMA conference for Catholics in healthcare entitled ‘Extraordinary Lives, Extraordinary Saints’. Having had a quick glance at the programme before arriving, I had imagined that the conference would entail a series of talks, each portraying an individual’s compassionate commitment to the care of others whilst perhaps also providing information on how best to navigate certain tricky ethical situations as Catholics. The speakers were not, however, simply inspiring professionals who happened to be practicing Catholics and had plenty of practical advice to offer, rather, they were individuals who were actively putting God at the centre of their lives and responding to their personal call to love Him by serving the infirm.

Dr Swee Ang spoke about seeing the face of Christ in the faces of children whilst working in war-torn territories and a young nurse encouraged us to re-evaluate the job (or even vocation) of a nurse given its roots in the order of the Daughters of Charity. Later in the afternoon, Mary Doogan, a midwife, explained that she would always pray before ever setting foot in the labour ward. The Mother Superior of the Little Sisters of the Poor spoke beautifully about the lives of the sisters working in care homes, their days rooted in prayer and dedicated to showing love to the elderly they serve. All these testimonies highlighted to me how vital it is for all of us to be open to God’s calling us in unexpected directions throughout our lives. It is extremely easy to fall into the trap of planning out one’s career in detail or at least of ruling out certain paths which don’t seem to fit into our fixed vision of our futures.

As young healthcare professionals, we left the conference with renewed energy and wonderful friendships, but perhaps most importantly, with the determination to keep God at the heart of our work. St Vincent de Paul is reported to have said, ‘Do not limit your vision any longer to yourself, but see the Lord around you and in you, ready to put his hand to the work as soon as you ask for his help. You will see that all will go well.’ The speakers and religious present at the conference undoubtedly witnessed to the joy and freedom that comes from giving one’s work over to God.

-          By a young medical student