Glenys Webster concludes Pastoral Practitioner Role at St John of God Halswell

Last week we farewelled Glenys Webster the Pastoral Practitioner for St John of God Halswell.

Glenys Webster Concludes Pastoral Care RoleHer contribution to the care and wellbeing of our residents has been immense, most recently in her Pastoral Care role that has seen her support residents and family in challenging and uncertain times. We would like to acknowledge this contribution that has had such great meaning for residents and their families, and wish Glenys well in her future projects and interests.

The following note is taken from Joanne Hope's comments acknowledging Glenys' contribution to our work and to the lives of residents.

For as long as I’ve known you Glenys, you’ve been stretching out to mend that part of the world that’s within your reach – one person at a time, one soul at a time – and you’ve done it with mercy, and compassion and tenderness and justice. And you’ve done it without the need to let the world know, without fanfare, without the need for affirmation or kudos.

During the time at SJOG many, many people have found some peace and some hope because it’s been you who have sat with them without judgement, listened to them, encouraged them, coached them and advocated for them.

You’ve companioned them as they’ve shared their stories, their struggles, their disappointments, their worries, and their anger at God, their fears for their families and their futures. No subject or concern is ever off the agenda – or too hard to bear, no hurt too big that you have not been prepared to sit with people and offer a listening ear, some consolation, or simply solidarity in the face of overwhelming hurts and suffering.

You’ve accompanied people right up to the threshold of death and sat with them and their families during their final moments. This is the calling and vocation of pastoral care, and you’ve never shied from it. Whatever the cost.

I believe it’s your faith that has and does enable you to hold onto hope for people until they are able to rediscover it for themselves. It’s both a gift and a skill and it’s much needed in the world.

Your training and your professionalism has been in the engagement in person-centred, grace-filled encounters – which privilege spiritual, emotional and cultural well-being as inextricably linked with healing and wholeness – that asserts that we are more than our bodies.

This belief is part of the Catholic identity of this place – the absolute conviction that we are all sacramental – that the world is imbued with the Divine presence and so are we: that we were made by love and for love.

One of the earliest projects we worked on when you took on the role was the development and roll out of the MyLife booklet. It was your idea and a credit to you and Sr Mary that it gained traction. It stemmed from your conviction that there needs to be a space where people can tell the story of their lives and aspirations, of those things that give them meaning, that recognise the substance of their humanity both prior to, and in the face of, their disability. And that these reflections need to shape and influence the care that’s provided and decisions that are made. You’ve always been a strong advocate of the MyLife model of care because you know that people thrive when their voices are heard, and they are allowed to be the experts in their own lives.

I want to thank you Alan, not just for supporting Glenys in her ministry here but also  for your generous involvement here. For at times holding services here for residents, for your ‘brokering’ that saw us purchase the Stations of the Cross, for participating in the Mercy project focusing on the experience of migrant workers at SJOG.  Certainly a case of two for the price of one. But I know too only a little of the support that Glenys is to you in your ministry, and that while this might be the role that she has been paid for, she serves her community in many other capacities.’

You’re a special woman Glenys. You have such a generosity of spirit and an unfaltering ability to see the good in everyone, to keep a confidence, and to champion the mission of SJOG.

There’s some wisdom in knowing when you’ve done enough and given enough. This is work that you can’t do forever. You need some refreshment, some time for you and your family, and to re-evaluate where next you want to place your energies and talents. 

I think you can leave here without regrets, but with pride for the heart you have brought to the pastoral role. You certainly go with our thanks and our blessing.

 - Joanne Hope

National Manager Mission Integration