Sr Maria Porter
My name is Maria Porter and I am a member of the Airdrie Community, in Lanarkshire, Scotland. There are seven sisters in this community, all involved in different ministries. We opened St. Andrew’s Hospice for terminally ill people on this site 25 years ago having cared for elderly people in Assumption House, Airdrie since 1957.
I moved to Scotland in 2004 and have been involved in the Chaplaincy team in a local General Hospital. I work alongside ministers of other faiths and a priest. There are two Eucharistic ministers who visit the hospital at weekends.
Every day in my ministry is different. My day begins with prayer and the Eucharist. Then I look at the computer to see if there are any messages. On Monday last, I arranged to have furniture taken from a deceased person’s house to one of the Hospice shops in our area.
I then had lunch and went off to the Hospital. I visit people of all faiths. Monday was interesting. One patient, not a Catholic, was anxious to talk about the Trinity. We talked of it being a ‘Mystery’. I had read on the subject in one of Sr. Wendy Beckett’s books. As this lady was interested in Art, I promised to bring her the book. I took it to her a day or so later – so the discussion continues.
Another gentleman, who is a Christian, when he realised I was a RC chaplain, pulled off a bracelet he had round his wrist. There were little wooden icons all displaying pictures of different Catholic images – Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Sacred Heart, the Crucifixion, Our Lady. These gave rise to lots of talk. This elderly man told me his wife died two years ago and he had a sixty year old disabled son whom he cared for. He was such a bright old man. He told me he was 83 and asked me how old I was – I said 81. He asked me could he give me a kiss!!
Another gentleman, a Christian, produced a holy picture a friend had given him two years previously of Our Lady and Bernadette at Lourdes. He said this was a prize possession.
A Church of Scotland lady – an Elder in her church – asked to see me. She was having tests and just wanted me to pray with her. In fact I learned a lot from her. She told me how she just gathers up all her worries and anxieties and places them at the feet of the Lord each day. She did four years training in her church on Scripture, called TLS (training, learning, serving).
I enjoy my involvement in the Hospital and my leisure time is spent painting and walking. I attend a weekly art class and at present am making preparations for an Autumn Sale of Art in aid of the Hospice. These paintings are donated from people around the country.
I am also a member of the group in our Province which is looking at ways we can enable the prevention of Human Trafficking.