When Dr. Jane Thibault, Ph.D. asked herself, “What does it mean to age well?” Who do I want to be like when I am eighty?” she thinks back on her many years of work in the field of gerontology. The characteristics that she believes enable people to still be vibrant late into their lives are that they are still engaged with and interested in other people’s lives. They believe that even when confined to long term care facilities, they still are needed and have something of value to contribute to the rest of humanity.

With that in mind, what happens then when an elder becomes disabled, or can no longer remain involved in activities that in the past, have given their lives meaning? These crises can cause great pain and suffering. What happens when with advancing age comes the loss of health, pain or the diminishment of abilities. How can we effectively respond to such suffering?

On Tuesday, May 17th from 2-4 PM at Our Lady of Nazareth Chapel at Nazareth Home in Louisville, KY, Dr. Thibault will present her practice of responding in a meaningful way, to suffering and pain called “Dedicated Suffering.” It is a process where small groups communally offer the energy of their pain to God to take and to transform into God’s own loving energy for someone else who needs it. By re-conceptualizing suffering, the suffering energy thus becomes a gift that one has the power to give.

Nazareth Home is delighted to sponsor this event in conjunction with the Louisville Archdiocesan Family Ministries Office. The surrounding area’s parish staffs, parishioners, of course the residents of Nazareth Home, are invited and encouraged to come and investigate this healing process. The community offered event will take place monthly in Our Lady of Nazareth Chapel at Nazareth Home. Currently, Nazareth Home residents gather monthly to pray and experience “Dedicated Suffering” and have found the process healing and community building.

Bridget Bunning
Director of Pastoral Care, Nazareth Home