friar and friend

Br. Ed Gura, OFM, with a friend at the St. Aloysius Parish outreach to people at the bus station in Detroit, Michgan, in 2015. Photo by Toni Cashnelli.

This Thanksgiving I am especially thankful for my calling to religious life and the various ministries to which God has led me. During my years as an ICU nurse, I became evermore thankful for the gift of my calling and evermore aware of what a privilege and an honor it was for me to be able to help bring back from sickness to health those bedridden with pain.

friar helping woman

Br. Ed Gura worked as an ICU nurse in Hazard, KY., for many years.

The greatest blessing of my nursing ministry was my encounter with Christ through the loving support and helpfulness that nurses showed to one another in bringing compassionate care to our patients, and also through our patients, who endured much sickness and suffering, yet in the midst of their pain bore witness to their faith and spiritual strength. Our overall care for one another not only brought healing to the wounds of our patients, but also to ours.

Isaiah reminds us that when we help ease the sufferings of others, our own wounds shall be quickly healed. How often these words proved true throughout my years as a nurse in Hazard, Ky. The lessons and blessings of the Holy Spirit have remained with me beyond the hospital in Hazard to my years of outreach ministry to the poor, sick and hungry at St. Aloysius Church in Detroit, and now at our Franciscan food pantry at Church of the Transfiguration in Southfield. Once again, our wounds find healing in our breaking bread together and ministering to one another during our blessed encounters together among those in need and the people who serve them, for we all are broken and in need of healing and forgiveness.

I am ever thankful for the grace-filled presence of the Holy Spirit always at work within us in every time, circumstance and place, endowing us with the strength needed to graciously and patiently endure and forgive whatever may come our way, all for the glory of God and salvation of souls. May our hearts overflow with thankfulness for all that we have to be grateful for this Thanksgiving, especially for the gift of our salvation.

(Br. Ed Gura, OFM, serves at the Church of the Transfiguration in Southfield, Michigan.)

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