I am Sister Florence Njoku. From the Order of Daughters of Divine Love. (DDL) and my role at Birmingham Children’s Hospital is as a Roman Catholic Pastoral Assistant.
My duties include :-
- Religious, Spiritual and Pastoral Care.
- Prayer and listening ear.
- Support for all as the need arises.
I am part of a wider Roman Catholic team that work together at the Birmingham children’s hospital from St Chad’s Roman Catholic Cathedral Birmingham under the directives of very Rev. Canon Gerry Breen, the Cathedral dean of the Birmingham Catholic Archdiocese.
As a team, we respond to the religious, pastoral and spiritual needs of Catholic patients, relatives and staff at BCH and at all level. My main role is to visit the sick, listen to them on the wards, on the corridors, listen to their stories. Some of them have lots of problems, life’s problems, that they have brought with them to the hospital. Sometimes that does not help their recovery so when they invite me they talk to me about all sorts of things and I listen to them, I am a good listener, and help them spiritually, morally and religiously.
We regularly visit each of the in-patients on the Wards, corridors, as well as in the chapel.
For Catholics, the most important source for their spiritual and pastoral care is their access to the Sacraments of the Church.
The Blessed Sacrament is installed and reverend in the chapel so, as extra ordinary Minister of Holy Eucharist I conduct the Eucharistic service in the absence of the priest, in accordance with the Catholic authorisation. I also take communion to the patients on the Wards when the need arises.
I offer support to patients, relatives and staff of other Christian denominations and other religions with their religious representatives.
I spend time with patients on the wards as they talk to me about a range of subjects especially when babies are in acute conditions and the parents need to make a tough but final decisions. We work as a team as we offer hope to the helpless in our hospital.
Before I go to the ward, as soon as I get to the hospital, I go straight to the chapel to say to our Lord the Blessed Sacrament ‘Jesus you know I am not worthy to be here, I have not got the strength, I don’t know what to do but I am going to the wards now believing that you are there before me. Tell me what to say to them, show me your face, tell me what to do’ and from there I get the strength to go to the ward. When I get there, I believe and I feel that the Lord is with me whatever I am doing. I am used as an instrument, I am not there on my own.
If you would like to learn about ways in which Sister Florence has supported one family you can click here.
You can learn more about the Chaplaincy team and read about Rev Paul Nash by clicking here.