Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 69(3) August 2019
The Annual Conference of the Catholic Medical Association
Being Disciples of Jesus In the Workplace – A Personal Reflection on the CMA Annual Conference
During a very stressful period of my career, I attended the CMA conference and AGM. I had a very blessed experience and would like to share a few of the things I took away from this:
Repeatedly falling into negative attitudes and behaviors such as detraction at work, I was reminded in a talk given by a GP partner, about our call as Christians to live a life of virtue at work. He shared the story of St Philip Neri who asked God for patience during a period of trial in his life, and was granted this; as well as the story of a man who during a challenging time at work, chose the path of perseverance, after coming to the conclusion that either the job was going to break him or he could allow it to turn him into a saint. I was reminded that I too could seek the path of growing in virtue, during this period of trial.
Faith and Conscience in the Workplace
I was encouraged and inspired by the witness of a Consultant Cardiologist who found a way in his day to day work to encourage morality and spirituality amongst colleagues. For example, he gave the example of how at the end of his lectures to junior doctors, he reminded them of their right to conscientious objection.
Another example was a survey he held in which he asked colleagues to think about when human life began – a method that stimulates people to think about the sanctity of human life from conception. Simple acts of witness such as wearing a small cross on his shirt were also shared.
It was helpful to be reminded of the fundamental call of the Christian doctor to be competent. A talk given by a Consultant Anaesthetist about volunteering in Lourdes and the talk by the Consultant Cardiologist, reminded me that there is no ignoring this call to competence if we are truly to be witnesses to Christ, beacons of light that attract people to our Christian Faith, and if we are to help others. As a priest once reminded me in the confessional, patients are trusting us with their lives. We have a duty to respond to that trust by being the best healthcare professional we can be for our patients.
Support and nourishment
In addition to the talks, there were informal opportunities to network and share experiences, especially at the conference dinner. During this time, I experienced others giving of their time to listen, share experiences and offer counsel, and (very importantly!) we were physically nourished by the food arranged by Dr Josephine Treloar.
I became more informed about the charitable works of the CMA during the AGM, as a retired GP shared information with members about the various missionary projects that the Catholic Medical Missionary Society (a branch of the CMA) supports overseas.
Attending this conference was one step on the lifelong journey of personal sanctification, an opportunity for which I am thankful.
By a doctor in Specialist training and CMA member